Wednesday

22nd Mar 2017

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.

EU leaders pledge €2bn extra for youth scheme

EU leaders meeting in Berlin pledged an extra €2 billion for a youth employment scheme and said the European Investment Bank will lend €6bn each year to help small companies hire young people.

Dutch plan global fund for safe abortion

The Dutch want to lead efforts to make up the shortfall in aid for safe abortions around the world, after Donald Trump announced the US would not fund such projects.

Column / Health Matters

The yin and yang of Chinese medicine

Can traditional Chinese medicine help the modern European patient? Malta thinks so, in a new agreement with China.

News in Brief

  1. Russia invites EU diplomats to occupied Crimea
  2. UK parliament in lockdown after reported attack
  3. Brussels attacks remembered with minute of silence and noise
  4. Magnitsky's lawyer injured near Moscow
  5. Trump to travel to Brussels on 25 May for Nato summit
  6. Polish defence minister accuses Tusk of treason
  7. Fillon slips in polls as new allegations emerge
  8. Brexit summit for EU-27 will be on 29 April

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Advertisements
  2. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  3. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  4. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  6. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  7. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  8. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  9. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  10. Malta EU 2017Consumer Protection Laws to Be Strengthened by EU-Wide Cooperation
  11. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted
  12. UNICEFSyria Conflict 6 Years On: Children's Suffering at Its Worst