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Secretary General

  • Assembly of European Regions
Brussels, Belgium
Application Deadline: April 18, 2024
  • Assembly of European Regions
Brussels, Belgium
Application Deadline: April 18, 2024
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Apply for this job

To apply for this position, please send your CV and cover letter to:


The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is not just the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe; we are a beacon for democracy, good governance, and regional innovation. Founded in 1985, our mission is to empower regions and foster a sustainable future through collaboration. With over 130 member regions from more than 25 countries, we are dedicated to making regions key players in the European project – from Norway to Turkey and from Portugal to Georgia.

To this end, the AER raises the concerns of regional governments in dialogue with the EU, international organisations, national governments and the public, to ensure that regions have a say in all issues affecting them. The AER offers its members opportunities to shape European policy, be visible with their best practices at the international level, find answers to common challenges, as well as knowledge transfer, training, and access to funding opportunities. It runs its own programmes and projects for a wide range of social groups, to work across borders in a practical way.


As our Secretary General (SG), you will not just oversee the administration of our offices in Brussels and Strasbourg and manage our dedicated team of 11 staff. You will embody our vision, inspiring and leading the AER into the future. This is a role for a visionary leader who can articulate a shared future and drive AER’s strategic direction, ensuring our voice is heard from local communities to international forums. You will represent the AER in its working relationships with governments, the EU, international organisations, and towards the public and the media. The Secretary General reports to the Executive Board and is responsible for implementing the decisions of AER’s governing bodies.

This position is to be filled in Brussels where the majority of the Secretariat team is based.


  • Lead the AER with integrity and vision, guiding our strategy, operations, and impact;

  • Foster a culture of innovation and collaboration, encouraging new ideas and approaches to meet the challenges facing Europe’s regions;

  • Engage with EU institutions, international organisations, and regional governments, promoting AER’s interests and expanding our influence;

  • Nurture relationships and develop strategic partnerships with other regional and local organisations and partner networks. Communicate with a diverse range of stakeholders;

  • Manage and inspire a diverse team at two locations, creating an environment that attracts, retains, and develops top talent;

  • Provide and further develop a friendly and fair working atmosphere with space for ideas and possibilities to learn;

  • Oversee the finances and administration, in consultation with the Treasurer and Executive Board;

  • Prepare meetings of the Executive Board (4-5 times annually) and the General Assembly;

  • Maintain relationships and connect with members and different communities within the network. Attract new members jointly with the team and Executive Board;

  • Represent the AER at high-level events including speaking engagements;

  • The SG will be required to work in Brussels (BE), with travels to the other office in Strasbourg (FR) and to member regions and some network collaboration organised via digital channels.


  • Very good knowledge of regional realities in Europe, and of challenges and opportunities for regions at the European level. Experience of working in or with regional governments;

  • Good understanding of EU Institutions and their ways of working, policy making, and funding opportunities;

  • Desirable: Track record of working in an EU political environment and influencing policy at this level;

  • Relevant academic degree (M.A. or higher), e.g., in political science, economics and social sciences, international relations, European studies, law or another discipline related to AER activities. Applicants with a lower degree may be considered if they can demonstrate outstanding additional qualifications or experience in the AER’s fields of work.


  • Strategic thinker with a clear vision for the future of regional cooperation in Europe;

  • Exceptional communication skills, capable of advocating for our regions’ interests across various platforms and to diverse audiences;

  • Commitment to our values of democracy and transparency, fairness and solidarity, openness and dialogue, to embracing diversity, and to human rights, rule of law, and good governance;

  • Excellent oral and written use of English (AER working language) and at least one additional European language, with a good command of French being an advantage.


  • Proven leadership in a multinational and multicultural setting, with the ability to inspire and unite a diverse team towards common objectives;

  • A successful track record in senior management, including management of staff and budgets in an international and multicultural environment, and developing sources of income;

  • Ability to develop and communicate strategies and work plans based on members’ priorities;

  • Hands-on, with the ability to be self-supporting and to assist the team at all levels of work when required;

  • Experience with network leadership and the functioning of membership organisations, including advising and reporting to boards and politicians.


  • A responsible position in a network that works together in a spirit of trust and enables you to be visible throughout Europe with your initiative and the impact of your work;

  • A competitive salary under a permanent Belgian contract, with a 13th salary and paid holidays;

  • Attractive employee benefits;

  • A generous offer of additional holiday days beyond the statutory minimum;

  • Opportunities for professional and personal growth including training opportunities.


  • Be at the forefront of shaping European policy and regional development;

  • Lead a team that’s passionate about making a tangible difference in communities across Europe;

  • Work in a dynamic, flexible environment that values innovation and inclusivity;

  • Competitive salary package, including additional benefits and opportunities for professional growth.


  • Send your CV and a cover letter explaining how you would contribute to AER’s vision and goals to​, subject heading:‘Application Secretary General’ by Thursday 18 April midnight (Brussels time). Additionally, we encourage you to include reference contacts in your CV and/or include a recommendation letter from a previous employer;

  • We welcome applicants from all walks of life and are committed to inclusivity and diversity in our team;

  • Candidates should have the right to live in Belgium and to work under a Belgian employment contract. They will have to register and pay taxes in Belgium;

  • Interviews shall take place online for the first round (week 18-20, TBC) and in person for the second round in Brussels (week 20-21, TBC);

  • The AER is looking for the next Secretary General to be able to start as soon as possible;

  • Given the high number of applications anticipated, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Apply now

Apply for this job

To apply for this position, please send your CV and cover letter to:

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