The EU has a common single market, consisting of a Customs Union, a single currency managed by the European Central Bank (so far adopted by twelve of the twenty five member states), a Common Agricultural Policy, a Common Trade Policy, a Common Fisheries Policy, and a Common Foreign and Security Policy. The internal borders of the European Union require no passport control and customs checks for visitors, who come to travel, live, work and invest from other member states of the EU.
The most important European Union institutions include the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Court of Justice, the European Central Bank and the European Parliament.
The European Parliament's origins go back to the 1950s and the founding treaties, and since 1979 its members have been directly elected by the people they represent. Elections are held every five years, and every EU citizen, who is registered as a voter, is entitled to vote.
If you watched at least one session or conference, held by the European Parliament, you might have noticed what an unusual institution it is. Sometimes, the European Parliament is compared to the Tower of Babel in terms of languages spoken within its walls. The only difference is that the Tower of Babel failed in a multi-lingual communication, while the European Parliament enjoys a great success.
The Members of the European Parliament are elected to present their political constituencies, language skills are not taken into consideration. Their successful communication is made possible due to numerous interpreters; the Members of Parliament speak their own language, but understand each other as if they spoke the same language!
The EP is a leading employer of interpreters in the world with three hundred and fifty permanent interpreters, joined by about four hundred free-lancers during peak periods.
Working from soundproof booths situated along the meeting rooms, the interpreters transmit the speaker's message into up to twenty official European Union languages. Visible to the audience, but never in the spotlight, they make the voice for all speakers.
And the best thing is that any professional, experienced, and skilled interpreter can try his (her) hand in interpreting for the European Union! The European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Court of Justice each have an interpretation service, but they together carry out the recruitment of staff interpreters and selection of freelance interpreters.
If you are interested in joining the staff of one of the institutions as an interpreter, you should visit the website of the European Personnel Selection Office, which organizes open competitions for recruitment to all institutions of the European Union.
If you want to work for the European Institutions as a freelance interpreter, he must first pass an inter-institutional accreditation test. In case the test is passed, the name of the competitor and his contact details will be entered into the joint EU database of accredited freelance interpreters.