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Internship: at the Committee of the Regions Location: Brussels DL: 31 March 2012


Every year, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) offers a limited number of university graduates a five-month traineeship:

  • from 16 February to 15 July (spring session);
  • from 16 September to 15 February of the following year (autumn session).
Each trainee is assigned to a specific department of the CoR. The nature of the work depends largely on the unit. Some units are more politically oriented, others are more administrative. In general, the type of work assigned is equivalent to that performed by junior executive-grade officials (AD5).
The aim of the traineeship within the CoR is:
  • to provide a unique, first-hand experience of the workings of the CoR in particular, and of the EU institutions in general;
  • to acquire practical experience and knowledge of the day-to-day work of the Committee's departments;
  • to work in a multicultural and multilingual environment;
  • to put into practice knowledge acquired during studies, particularly in your areas of competence.
The various aspects of a CoR Traineeship
  • You will be in the heart of the dynamics of political assembly
The Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the political assembly that gives a voice to regional and local levels in EU policy development and EU legislation. The Treaties oblige the European Commission, Parliament and Council to consult the CoR whenever new proposals are made in areas that affect the regional or local level. For its part, the Committee can adopt opinions on its own initiative and present these to the European Commission, Council and Parliament.
The CoR has 344 members from all 27 Member States and its work is organised in 6 different commissions. They examine proposals, debate and discuss them in order to adopt official opinions on key issues. Members and alternates are appointed for a five-year term by the Council, acting on proposals from the Member States. They exercise governmental or elected functions at the local and regional level and therefore have direct experience of how the policies and the legislation of the EU affect the daily lives of citizens.
  • The study visit
The CoR offers trainees the possibility to organize a study visit, under the supervision of the Traineeships Office. The subject of the study visit is selected by the trainees and should be related to areas of CoR's main political interests. The study visit allows/enables the trainees to fulfil the following objectives:
  • learning how to cooperate in a professional setting and in a multicultural environment;
  • living the reality of European integration, with a focus on the local and regional perspective;
  • contributing to the CoR's work by drafting a report which can be used by units.
  • A small group of trainees
Being part of a small group of trainees creates a closer social network and makes the transition easier by bringing a lot of benefits to the social aspect of the traineeship.
  • Broadening your knowledge
The possibility of attending a wide range of conferences/forums/seminars on diverse subjects.
Admission criteria
To apply for a traineeship at the CoR, a number of basic requirements must be fulfilled.
Applicants must:
  • be a national of one of the Member States of the European Union or of a State which is an official candidate for accession;
  • have completed at least the first cycle of a higher education course and obtained a full degree by the closing date for applications [1]
  • have a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the European Union and a satisfactory knowledge of another EU-working language (French or English).
Important notice:
a)In order to enable as many European citizens as possible to familiarize themselves with the European institutions, no application shall be accepted from any person who has already received more than eight weeks of any kind of in-service training (formal or informal, paid or unpaid) within a European institution or body [2], or who has been in any kind of employment within a European institution or body, including anyone who is or has been an assistant to a Member of the European Parliament, an intramural consultant or researcher, a temporary staff member, a contract staff member, an auxiliary staff member or an interim staff member of any EU institution, body, delegation or representative office.
b)Applicants of third countries may be granted a traineeship by the Secretary General in exceptional, duly motivated cases.
Traineeship period
There are two training periods per year:
Spring session: from 16 February to 15 July
Autumn session: from 16 September to 15 February
(of the following year)
Grant
CoR-trainees are entitled to a monthly grant. The amount of the grant is equivalent to 25% of the salary of AD*5 officials (step 1) at the start of the traineeship for the full 5-month period. If a CoR trainee in receipt of a grant is also in receipt of income from a source external to the CoR during his/her in-service training period, he/she shall have no claim to any financial contribution from the CoR, save insofar as that external remuneration is less than the in-service training grant. In that event, he/she shall receive the difference up to the amount of that grant.
An additional monthly allowance of €100, 00 is awarded to:
  • a married trainee whose spouse is not gainfully employed;
  • a trainee who has dependent children (€100, 00/child/month).
A supplementary grant amounting to up to half of the monthly grant may be granted to a handicapped trainee after consideration of his/her individual situation.
Insurance
Health insurance
Health insurance is compulsory
1.If the trainee is not covered by any other health insurance scheme, he/she will be insured by the CoR's health insurance policy. The contribution of the trainee shall be one third of the premium, which will be deducted from the monthly grant, the remainder being borne by the CoR.
2 If a trainee wishes to use a different health insurance policy, proof of this insurance must be presented to the CoR before the start of the traineeship period. If this is not done within the provided deadline, the premium for the CoR insurance scheme will be deducted from the trainees’ grant by default and the trainee will be automatically insured through the CoR health insurance scheme.
Accident insurance
Accident insurance is compulsory
All trainees must also be insured against risk of accident under the conditions set out in the insurance policy taken out by the CoR. The trainees' contribution shall be one tenth of the premium, deducted automatically from the trainee’s grant, the remainder being borne by the CoR.
Travel expenses
    1. A trainee who is recruited from anywhere except Brussels shall be entitled to the reimbursement of travel expenses incurred at the beginning and the end of the traineeship period, provided that his/her place of recruitment is within the geographical limits of the European Union, or of a State which is an official candidate for accession.
    2. A trainee whose place of recruitment is within 50km of his/her place of assignment shall not be entitled to the reimbursement of travel costs.
    3. Travel expenses are calculated on the basis of the most economical route.
    4. In order to receive the reimbursement for your travel expenses, you must present supporting documents (such as train or plane tickets, compulsory boarding pass, electronic booking form, invoices, etc.).
    5. The cost of the return journey equals the cost price of the inward journey and is reimbursed at the end of the traineeship, without the documents having to be produced.
Application procedure
Since the number of applications received outnumbers the places available, it is important that you understand the procedure and follow it correctly.
Access to a traineeship is on merit only. For this reason, the CoR does not make preferential arrangements with specific educational institutions or authorities.
The CoR seeks to select trainees on as wide a geographical basis as possible;
1.How to apply?
Applications are exclusively submitted online via an internet Application Form in English, French or German.
About the application form:
  • Before you start the form, please make sure that you have all the required information.
  • There are mandatory and optional fields to complete. It will be impossible for you to submit your application unless you complete all the mandatory fields. The other fields are optional, and are intended to help the Traineeships Office to establish a more detailed profile of you.
  • Please check that all the information you provide is correct.
  • Also check your form thoroughly before submitting.
  • You can return to your application form and make changes at any time before the submission deadline. After this date, no changes are allowed.
  • Once your application is submitted electronically, you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt by e-mail. With this e-mail you will receive a personal access code. This is to allow you to check your status during the selection process.
  • Any false statement or omission in the application form, even if unintentional, may lead to rejection of the application or cancellation of a traineeship.
Disclaimer:
Due to the very high number of applications, the system may encounter problems processing the large amounts of data when reaching the deadline for submission of applications. Therefore, the Traineeships Office advises candidates to send their application well ahead of the deadline.
No correspondence is carried out regarding individual entries and the Traineeships Office does not provide feedback on evaluation or progress of applications.
2.Which service should I apply to?
You have the possibility to choose a preferred service. This is an added criterion for pre-selecting a candidate.
You can find information on different services:
  1. in the application form
  2. in the descriptive list at the traineeship page on the website of the Committee of the Regions
3.Application deadline
The electronic application form must be submitted within the following timeframe (unless otherwise stated on the website):
Spring session: Between 1st April and 30th September (midnight, Brussels local time) of the preceding year
Autumn session: Between 1st October and 31st March (midnight, Brussels local time) of the same year
Any application received outside this period will not be accepted by the Traineeships Office.
Any application not submitted electronically will not be accepted by the Traineeships Office.
4.Selection procedure explained
4.1. Tentative timeframe – target dates
Phase Spring session Autumn session
Application registration and deadline From 1 June till 30 September of previous year 31 March of same year
Verification of admission criteria phase 15 October 15 April
Pre-selection phase 15 November 15 May
Checking of Documents 15 December 15 June
End selection 31 December 30 June
4.2.Selection process
In order to ensure that everyone has an equal chance, a transparent and objective selection procedure has been established. The procedure works as follows:
Step 1: Submitting the application form: using the online interface on the CoR website. Once you have submitted your application form, you will receive an e-mail with your status: "Confirmation of Registration". Using the personal access code, you can check the status of your application at any time.
Step 2: Validation of the application form: The Traineeships Office checks whether applications meet the criteria laid down in the Regulation 1996/2010. If the admission criteria are met, you will receive an e-mail "Application valid". If the admission criteria are not met, you will receive an e-mail with the status "Application invalid".
Step 3: Pre-selection of candidates by different units of the CoR: the database of admitted candidates is now opened for selection by CoR departments. This selection is anonymous and based upon objective criteria. Each department sends the list with pre-selected applicants to the Traineeships Office, with an indication of their ranking. The first 3 short-listed candidates will be requested to electronically submit mandatory documents by a specific deadline
Applicants will receive an e-mail with the status: "Pre-selected".
Other short listed candidates will be mentioned on a reserve list. Your status will be: "Pre-selected – Reserve list" and you may still be requested to provide the Traineeships Office with necessary documents.
Step 4: Checking of documents:
The Traineeships Office checks whether the documents are consistent with the information in the application form.
Only if the result of the checking is positive, you will receive an e-mail with the status: "Pre-selected – eligibility check confirmed".
Step 5: Final Selection Round - Assignment:
Departments are encouraged to contact (but this is not obligatory) with one or more eligible candidates in order to check their overall qualifications including motivation and linguistic skills.
After the selection is made, the Traineeships Office will notify the successful candidate with an assignment letter. You will receive an e-mail with the status "Selected"."
Step 6: Contract
On the first day of your traineeship, you will receive a contract signed by the Secretary General and yourself with an official decision appointing you as trainee within a specific unit.
Candidates whose application was not pre-selected or selected may re-apply for a subsequent traineeship period at the Committee of the Regions.
Not being selected does not mean you are not qualified.
5. Requested documents
THE TRAINEESHIPS OFFICE WILL ONLY REQUEST THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS ONCE YOUR STATUS IS "PRE-SELECTED":
  • A scanned copy of the acceptance form dated and signed by you;
  • Copies proving all declarations that you made in the online application form (diplomas, professional experiences, etc.);
  • A copy of your ID card (recto/verso);
  • A police certificate of good conduct proving that you have not been convicted of any serious offence (to be presented on the first day of traineeship);
  • A medical certificate proving that you are currently in good health, delivered by a doctor of your choice (to be presented on the first day of traineeship);
  • Proof of coverage of your private medical insurance coverage: proof that you are covered during your Traineeship period. The proof can be a copy of health insurance policy IF the expiry date is mentioned on it. If there is no expiry date, a proof will then be a letter from the health insurance company stating: the name of trainee; the address; the type of health insurance (in general terms); from which date onwards the trainee is covered by the insurance; and if possible, proof that the trainee will be covered during the entire traineeship period at the CoR.
Important notice!:
  • Candidate-trainees are strongly advised to start collecting all relevant supporting documents when they submit their application!
  • If any of the above-mentioned documents are not written in one of the Community languages, please include a translation into one of the main working languages of the Committee of the Regions (English or French) with the document.
  • Any other supporting documents (such as CVs, reference letters, marks obtained, etc.) can be attached to the file, but these are not compulsory. Please do not however attach copies of your PhD thesis, or any publications or studies you have published or have been involved in publishing.
  • Please do not send the originals of your diplomas, etc. The Traineeships Office will not return any certificates or diplomas.
6. Application form in ENFRDE
General Information
General Provisions:
  • The traineeship schemes of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union (CoR) are subject to the availability of funds and office space.
  • Admission to a traineeship shall not confer to trainees the status of official or other servants of the European Communities. It shall in no way entitle trainees to priority in subsequent appointments by the CoR.
  • During the training period, a trainee must comply with Regulation 1996/2010 and the instructions given by his/her supervisor and the Traineeships Office.
Confidentiality:
  • A trainee must observe the greatest discretion with regard to all facts and information coming to his/her knowledge in the course of the traineeship. Disclosure to any unauthorized person of any document or information obtained is prohibited. A trainee continues to be bound by this obligation after completion of the traineeship period.
  • Whether acting individually or jointly, trainees may only publish or cause to be published any matter dealing with the work or functioning of the CoR or the EU institutions if they have the prior written permission of the Secretary General of the CoR.
  • All intellectual rights to any writings or other work done for the CoR during the course of the traineeship period remain the property of the CoR.
  • The CoR reserves the right to terminate the traineeship if the obligation of confidentiality is not respected.
Behaviour & conduct:
  • A trainee must exercise his/her duties with integrity, courtesy and consideration.
Participation in activities/events:
At the beginning of the traineeship the Traineeships Office organizes several activities/visits to broaden the trainee's knowledge of the European institutions.
  • A trainee must take part in all activities organized for him/her in accordance with the timetables and programmes laid down.
  • During the traineeship period, a trainee may attend events on his/her own initiative, after consulting his/her supervisor.
  • If a trainee cancels his/her participation in an activity for which the Institution has already committed funds, the trainee will be liable for those costs. The Traineeships Office may demand the reimbursement of costs incurred for the organization of such activities from trainees who absent themselves without due and proper justification.
Working hours:
  • A trainee follows the working schedule of the unit he/she is assigned to.
  • A trainee shall keep the same hours of work and has the same official public holidays as CoR officials.
  • A trainee who takes part in official activities organized by the Traineeships Office (including study visits) must respect the timetables and programmes laid down.
Leave:
  • A trainee shall be entitled to two days leave per month. This entitlement is acquired pro rata to the number of full months worked. Days of leave not taken shall not be paid in lieu. Absence for participation in any competition, exam or university work shall be deducted from the leave entitlement (See Regulation 1996/2010 for more information).
Absence in the event of illness:
A trainee must notify his/her advisor and the Traineeships Office immediately. If absent for longer than two calendar days, he/she must produce a medical certificate, indicating the probable length of absence, which should be forwarded to the Traineeships Office. A trainee who is absent because of illness may be subject to a medical check in the interest of the service.
Absence without authorisation or notification:
  • The trainee must provide a written explanation to the supervisor and to the Traineeships Office within one week of the unauthorized absence, providing a full and detailed justification for the absence.
  • The days of absence shall be deducted from the trainee’s leave entitlement.
  • Following examination of the justification given or if no justification is received within one week, the Traineeships Office may decide to immediately terminate the traineeship without further notice.
Interruption /Termination:
  • Incapacity of Performance:
On the basis of a justified request by the supervisor and with the approval of the Secretary General, the Traineeships Office may terminate the traineeship if it considers that the level of the trainee’s professional performance or his/her knowledge of the declared working language is insufficient for the proper execution of his/her duties.
  • Wrongful declaration:
The Secretary General, on a proposal of the Director of Administration, may terminate the traineeship immediately and without notice if at any moment it becomes apparent that the trainee knowingly made a wrongful declaration or provided false statements or papers at the time of application or at any time during the traineeship period.
Certification:
After the traineeship period the trainee will receive a certificate specifying the dates of the traineeship and the unit in which he/she was working.
Accommodation:
No specific facilities are available at CoR in terms of accommodation.
This list with links to search websites and property agencies can be useful in finding the right accommodation in Brussels.
Information on various aspects of renting in Brussels can be checked on the website of the Brussels Europe Liaison Office.
Contact details of the Traineeships Office:
For further information, please e-mail:
trainee@cor.europa.eu.