Saturday

19th Oct 2019

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.

The EU executive on Monday (6 November) launched a programme that will see the first 50 commission officials going to Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain to work in small and medium sized companies (SMEs) for one week.

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  • Brussels bureaucrats will get hands-on experience in the same sectors they draft legislation for (Photo: Notat)

EU industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen first presented the initiative in July this year as a "hands-on experience" in SMEs for the commission's administrators.

The civil servants will be working in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, restaurants and hotels, information technology, aerospace, machinery, chemicals and textiles, shadowing ordinary personnel.

"A better understanding of the needs of SMEs and a better appreciation of business-specific problems is also part of the better regulation initiative and of our determination to improve the quality of lawmaking," commissioner Verheugen said in a statement on Monday.

"I will myself take part in the exercise and I look forward to sharing the experience with my staff," he noted, without being specific on his traineeship post.

A total of 350 civil servants from the commission's enterprise and industry department will be pursuing an internship in 27 different economic sectors over the next two years across the EU.

Three key pan-European industry groups have been allocating companies to work for the Brussels officials, including UEAPME - a small businesses lobby which has in the past often criticised the commission for its focus on big business in policy-making.

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