Thursday

29th Sep 2016

Brussels interns to protest over poor work conditions

  • Youngsters protesting in Berlin against unemployment (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Interns in Brussels are set to stage a protest on Wednesday (17 July) over poor work conditions.

Organised through Facebook, the campaign aims to bring attention to a work force that is often unpaid.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Others say the placements sometimes fail to offer real training or a perspective for future employment.

The campaign is geared towards all interns, whether they work for the EU institutions, NGOs, private companies or international organisations.

“Our message is designed to incorporate interns working under a variety of conditions, rather than targeting any one particular institution,” an organiser told this website.

Campaigners say that while interns are grateful for the opportunity in Brussels, many work long hours without pay and without a contract.

“We appreciate the efforts taken by all authorities involved in the transmission of skills to young professionals; nevertheless this should not prevent us from drawing public attention to inappropriate conditions in the internship system,” say the organisers in a statement.

The European Commission, for its part, launched the European Alliance for Apprenticeships in early July to improve the quality of traineeships throughout the Union.

The commission says member states with strong vocational and training programmes tend to have lower youth unemployment, listing Austria, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands as examples.

"Given the unacceptable levels of youth unemployment there is an urgent need for those responsible for education and employment to work together to facilitate the transition of young Europeans from school to the world of work,” said EU social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor.

The 600 interns at the commission, or so-called Blue Book stagiaires, receive about €1,000 per month for a five-month contract.

The commission says the average trainee in 2009 was 26-years old, spoke four languages, and had two diplomas.

The European Parliament, for its part, offers both paid and unpaid internships.

The intern protests comes after a series of strikes by fully-fledged EU officials, who say that proposed cuts to pay and perks will drain EU institutions of talented applicants.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EJCMourns the Passing of Israeli Statesman Shimon Peres
  2. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  3. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  4. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  5. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  6. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  7. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  8. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  9. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  10. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  11. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  12. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?

Latest News

  1. EU commission presents 'realistic' lobbying rules
  2. Evidence mounts of Russia's role in MH17
  3. New EU rules on financial products in limbo
  4. Turkey denies protection to returning Syrians
  5. Budget commissioner Georgieva leaves for UN campaign
  6. Ambition meets reality in EU tax leaks probe
  7. No support for EU army in ministers' talks
  8. Greek MPs approve water and electricity privatisation