Thursday

2nd Jul 2020

Commission to send its staff for internships in firms

The European Commission will send 350 of its senior officials for one week internships in small companies - such as bakeries or carpentry firms - so that they can learn about small businesses (SMEs) for which they draft European laws.

EU industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen presented the intitiative on Monday (17 July), announcing that the first 50 civil servants would leave the Brussels' headquarters of the EU executive and set out for traineeships across the member states already this year.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We don't need an ivory tower policy," commented Mr Verheugen, suggesting that by acquiring such a "hands-on experience" in SMEs, the commission's administrators will understand their problems better and become their "ambassadors."

The companies to host the EU bureaucrats will be picked by three key pan-European industry groups, including UEAPME - the small businesses lobby which has in the past often criticised the commission for its focus on big business in policy-making.

Its secretary-general Hans-Werner Muller has welcomed the new initiative, arguing that visiting officials will be able to see for themselves "how the small size of micro-businesses makes them more vulnerable to excessive, unnecessary or over-complex legislation."

"We hope they take this message back to Brussels," added Mr Muller.

Marie-Elizabeth Rusling from Eurochambers, another group paticipating in the project commented: "it is a small step and it will still take longer before we move beyond buzzwords that SMEs have become in the commission's rhetoric and the real moves to reflect their concerns in policy-making."

She added that pilot projects that preceded the official launch of the internship scheme have showed EU officials were often surprised by critical questions from the businessmen they had been shadowing.

"They mainly expected to look around and see how small firms in particular sectors were running, but in fact they also had to explain to their hosts the nature of Brussels' business," Ms Rusling told EUobserver.

EU interns to rebel against unpaid work

Young people will gather in Brussels on Monday to protest against hundreds of unpaid traineeships offered by the EU institutions each year.

EU officials take up jobs in small firms

Some senior European Commission officials will from this week onwards leave their office desks and work as interns in small companies to learn about the professions for which they make EU-wide laws.

EU plans tougher checks on foreign takeovers

The EU and its member countries are worried that foreign powers, such as China and its state-owned companies will take advantage of the economic downturn and buy up European firms

Vestager hits back at Lufthansa bailout criticism

Commission vice-president in charge of competition Margarethe Vestager argued that companies getting large capital injections from the state during the corona crisis still have to offset their competitive advantage.

News in Brief

  1. EU still not pro-actively declaring tobacco meetings
  2. China to block Hong Kong exiles fleeing to UK
  3. EU stuck with Putin until 2036
  4. Malaysia pushes to keep selling palm oil to EU
  5. Austria raises corona alert on Western Balkans
  6. Turkey poised to convert Istanbul museum into mosque
  7. France leaves Nato operation after clash with Turkish ships
  8. EU Commission sets up skills agenda for next five years

Coronavirus

EU leaders to reconvene in July on budget and recovery

Most EU leaders want an agreement before the summer break, but the Dutch PM, leading the 'Frugal Four', warned there might not even be a deal then. But the ECB's Christian Lagarde has warned of a "dramatic" economic fall.

Coronavirus

EU leaders seek to first narrow differences at summit

EU leaders on Friday will share their takes - online - on the €750bn recovery and €1.1 trillion budget plans, before they try to seal the deal at one or two likely head-to-head meetings in July.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us