Saturday

28th May 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.

Opinion

Living with terror

If you think it’s hard for adults to cope with the aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks, just think how hard it is for children.

News in Brief

  1. Syrian refugees sue Denmark over immigration law
  2. Ukraine bans Gorbachev for backing Crimea's seizure
  3. Dozens dead in two shipwrecks outside Libya
  4. Slovak PM says his country is no place for Muslims
  5. Juncker's spin-doctor warns of populist 'horror'
  6. EU urges Hungary to end discrimination of Roma children
  7. Majority of voters think UK will stay in EU
  8. Leading MEP says Greek bailout will not work

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan