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EU should seek legal framework to end unpaid traineeships

Interview with Euractiv

A legally binding instrument to ensure quality traineeships in the EU is needed to prevent precariousness and abuse of young people in work, Renew MEP Monica Semedo told Euractiv in an interview. 

The European Parliament has repeatedly asked for higher safeguards for young people entering Europe’s labour market and issued a wide range of non-binding resolutions in recent years. "This is a long-standing demand from the youth and the EU must deliver,” Semedo told Euractiv.

The most recent resolution, for which Semedo was the rapporteur, reiterated the need to improve working standards for young people, fight against employment abuses, and ban unpaid traineeships. The resolution was adopted in June.

“It has been 10 years since the Quality Framework for Traineeships was first adopted. Now we need a legally-binding instrument and not only recommendations: to prevent precariousness, abuse, and never-ending extensions of contracts that do not lead to a permanent position and most of all, traineeships must be paid,” the MEP told Euractiv.

The Quality Framework for Traineeships is a group of recommendations the European Commission published in 2014. They are not legally binding, however, instead giving guidelines to member states on how to approach the issue.

“Quality traineeships can play a key role in helping young people gain practical experience and find a job. In its work programme for 2023, the Commission announced an initiative on traineeships, a key deliverable of the European Year of Skills,” a European Commission spokesperson told Euractiv.

“The Commission is currently preparing an update of the EU quality framework of traineeships in the EU, tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2024, subject to the conclusion of the Commission’s Impact Assessment,” the spokesperson added.

Last week, EU lawmakers discussed the issue during a European Parliament plenary session, and during the debate, the Commissioner for Jobs Nicolas Schmit announced that a legislative proposal on the matter will be published before the legislative mandate ends this year.

However, according to standard timing on legislative negotiation in EU institutions, any legislation proposed now will not be approved before the end of the mandate, which will expire in a few months with EU elections taking place in early June.

The proposal will be therefore passed to the next European Commission.

“I welcome the announcement by Commissioner Schmit that an initiative, taking on board many aspects of the Parliament’s demands, will be proposed before the end of the term,” Semedo told Euractiv. 

“I remain cautious while we wait for the proposal to see what will be in the directive [legislative proposal] and what will be in the recommendation that was announced today,” the MEP concluded.

Schmit is likely the leading candidate for the socialist party in the European elections. The final decision on the candidate will be taken during the Socialist family congress in early March which will take place in Rome.

Link to the article here.


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