Unpaid internships in the European Parliament and elsewhere must be banned, say S&Ds SALI

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Social Europe & Jobs

Press release

On the S&Ds initiative, last night the European Parliament’s Bureau adopted principles on the framework reform for internships. Under the new rules, MEPs would be able to offer three types of traineeships in Brussels: a traineeship for university graduates for a period of six months; a training placement for a period of one to five months; and, study visits for a duration of up to six weeks. For the first two, fixed remuneration will be provided, whereas for the latter no remuneration is foreseen. 
 
Sylvie Guillaume MEP, European Parliament vice-president stated:
 
“We are very happy with the reform adopted last night in the Bureau. The new principles put an end to unpaid internships in the European Parliament. Under the current framework, MEPs were not required to grant trainees a minimum remuneration, leaving the question of payment to the discretion of the MEPs. The reform adopted set key principles to ensure that trainees receive decent remuneration and are insured against illnesses and accidents at work. The fact that Secretariat of the European Parliament will hire trainees directly and then allocate them to the Members will finally eliminate discriminations among EU trainees.”
 
“We Socialists and Democrats have been fighting for long time to improve the current framework. In March 2018, the S&D members of the European Parliament Bureau sent a letter to European Parliament president Antonio Tajani asking him to bring the issue to the Bureau. We are glad we succeeded because the topic concerns thousands of young people aspiring to work for the European Union. We cannot let them down pretending that this is not happening, nor can we remain silent on issues when they are taking place in our own house. The European Parliament as well as all other institutions must lead by example also in this field. All internships must be remunerated.”
 
Agnes Jongerius MEP, S&D Group spokesperson on employment and social affairs, added:
 
“It is shameful that there are still many MEPs that do not pay their interns. On the pretext of learning or providing an opportunity for a career, established MEPs have been using the loophole in the 2010 legal framework to get work done without spending a cent. At present, 8 per cent of the MEP trainees do not receive any scholarship and 35 per cent are paid less than € 1000. This is an exploitative practice that must be banned.”
 
“What we need today is to create new high-quality jobs, apprenticeships and training for young people. We must ensure that paid jobs will not be replaced by unpaid traineeships. We are calling on the European Commission and the European Council to ensure that all unpaid internships are banned, not only in the EU Institutions but everywhere. Young people must enjoy decent and non-discriminatory working conditions wherever they are. In this respect, the European Parliament must lead by example.”
 
You can read the letter sent to EP president Tajani here.