Friday

23rd Oct 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

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 for which they draft European laws.

Polish court effectively bans legal abortions

The human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe said the ruling marked a "sad day for women's rights", adding that more women will seek abortions underground and abroad.

MEPs urge EU to be ready to dump disputed energy treaty

Cross-party MEPs called on the European Commission to prepare to withdraw from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) if negotiations for its modernisation fail. At the heart of the row is fossil fuel companies ability to sue governments for compensation.

EU commission on defensive over 'revolving doors'

The European Commission rubber-stamped over 99 percent requests by officials to take on jobs in the private sector, posing ethical questions in light of known examples where conflicts of interests appear to be clear cut.

News in Brief

  1. UK scientists fear Brexit blow to joint EU research
  2. Greek migrant camp lockdown extended
  3. Lukashenko and 14 others in EU crosshairs
  4. EU imposes sanctions over 2015 Bundestag cyberattack
  5. Italy reignites Mont Blanc border dispute with France
  6. Commission to press Croatia on migrant 'abuse' at border
  7. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  8. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19

Opinion

All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter

The European Court of Justice is currently facing a major question: can religious freedom coexist with animal welfare? The decision of whether religious slaughter can continue is expected in a matter of weeks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. South Caucasus death toll much worse than feared
  2. Polish court effectively bans legal abortions
  3. MEPs urge EU to be ready to dump disputed energy treaty
  4. EU commission on defensive over 'revolving doors'
  5. Why German presidency is wrong on rule of law
  6. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  7. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  8. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us