Tuesday

17th Sep 2019

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Focus

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.

Hungary tops EU anti-fraud investigation list

In its annual report, the EU's anti-fraud agency said it concluded nine investigations into Hungary and found irregularities in seven cases. In total, the agency recommended the recovery of €371m EU-wide.

Exclusive

Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

A European financial regulatory body set up after the financial crisis is at loggerheads with the European Commission over whether to carry out a transparency review of certain financial products. The reason: Brexit.

Commission defends Mercosur trade deal

EU commissioners defended a far-reaching free trade agreement between the EU and four Latin American countries, against critics who fear it will damage European farmers' livelihoods and the global environment.

News in Brief

  1. Germany prepared to top up post-Brexit EU budget
  2. New Saudi attack threats, but EU and US still divided
  3. EU anti-trust chief goes after Belgian tax breaks
  4. Luxembourg PM Bettel humiliates Johnson
  5. No new backstop proposal at Juncker-Johnson lunch
  6. Saudi oil production in flames after drone attack
  7. US: attack on Saudi oil came from Iran or Iraq
  8. Poll: Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang largest party

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin
  2. EU divided on how to protect rule of law
  3. Nordic region to become world's most sustainable and integrated
  4. In detail: Belgium's EU nominee faces crime probe
  5. France urges EU virtual currency rules amid Libra risk
  6. Brexit and new commission in focus This WEEK
  7. As recession looms, Europe needs more spending
  8. How should the EU handle Russia now?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us