Together with the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament is the main decision-making body of the EU. It is directly elected by EU voters every 5 years. The last elections were in May 2014. The European Parliament employs some 8,000 officials and other staff in total. They come from all EU Member States and are posted to the Parliament's three places of work (Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Brussels) and to the Information Offices in the Member States.
The European Parliament recruits officials, temporary and contract staff through open competitions organised by the European Personnel Selection Office. Furthermore, members of the European Parliament recruit their accredited parliamentary assistants. Employment agencies are responsible for the recruitment of agency staff. Lastly, seconded national experts are recruited through their Member State's Permanent Representation to the European Union. The European Parliament also offers several traineeships throughout the year.