The European Parliament bans unpaid internships

03. 07. 2018

Late yesterday evening, the European Union took another step towards fair remuneration for all within its institutions. We are excited about the decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament which ensures interns of a Member of the European Parliament to receive a decent remuneration.

This is another important step forward to put an end to discriminatory practices in EU and international institutions, and ensure that young people are not treated as cheap labour. Last summer the European External Action Service (EEAS) also made the decision to start paying all the interns in its Delegations. This and yesterday's developments in the European Parliament are key victories for youth rights and happened after years of campaigning efforts from various stakeholders, including the European Youth Forum.

The Bureau of the European Parliament agreed on key principles which will form the basis to revise internal rules on internships in MEPs offices. According to these new principles, interns will be hired directly by the European Parliament and their working conditions will be comparable to those offered under the Robert Schuman programme: this means that all interns will receive decent remuneration for their work.

According to a shocking survey carried out in 2017 by the Youth Intergroup, currently, one-quarter of interns working for MEPs and political groups in the European Parliament are paid less than €600 a month and 8% of them are unpaid. The European Youth Forum has been working with the Youth Intergroup in the European Parliament towards  better quality opportunities for young interns, and we consider yesterday’s decision as a key improvement.

From the adoption of the European Quality Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships, to the lodging a collective complaint on the issue of unpaid internships in Belgium, the European Youth Forum has a long history of fighting to change practices and improve the situation of interns. We will continue to support the Youth Intergroup and its #FairInternships campaign to ensure that the key principles agreed yesterday are translated into rules as soon as possible.

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