FAQ

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- Yes. For what you declare in the section "Other languages", you must mention your level of knowledge in five fields (Listening, Reading, Spoken Interaction, Spoken Production, Writing) and have supporting documents to prove your declarations.

What counts as an "appropriate justification" for my languages?

We accept the following documents as proof of your skills in your declared language(s):

  • language certificates (including exam marks and level of attainment e.g. for IELTS or TOEFL). Attendance certificates for language courses do not count
  • university degrees/diplomas/transcripts obtained in the declared language
  • official courses at any level of education followed in your declared languages.
  • proof of work experience in a job in a particular country that implies that you made active and intensive use of the declared language (e.g. 1 year working in a call centre in Ireland)
What languages would I need to have to qualify for a translation traineeship?

During the traineeship, you will translate into your main language from at least two other official EU languages.

At least one of the languages you offer must be French, English or German. This is because:

  • the EU receives a large volume of translations and documents in French, English or German
  • French, English and German are the languages that EU staff members most frequently use in their work.

Most documents sent to DG Translation in languages other than French, English and German come from the Member States.

Some documents come from international organisations and national associations that write to the Commission in English.

In 2015 some 81% of the total translation volume was translated from English, with French accounting for 3.7% of all translations, German for 2.8% and all the other languages together accounting for 12.5%. The predominant position of the English is explained by the fact that it is the principal drafting language at the Commission.

 

What level do I need to have in the source languages I translate from?
  • First source language chosen among English, French or German: C1/C2
  • Second source language: B2 at least but level C1/C2 best suits the needs of translation

 

- No, if this was part of your university courses (mandatory or not) and the university is part of the contract/agreement with the employer. Grouping education or training is not admitted.

- Yes if this was an external activity while you were studying and the contract/agreement with the employer does not include your university.

Be aware of the fact that in the section Work Experience you must indicate a start and an end date and work should be considered continuous, not made on a casual basis. You should explain in the free text how often your work was carried out and make sure that this declaration is unequivocally confirmed in some documents. Should this not be the case, you should instead declare this experience in the Motivation or Quality of reasoning section.

- No. In order to apply you must have completed a full university degree of at least three years of studies (corresponding to a Bachelor Degree). You must have already graduated on the day when you submit the application. Even if you are scheduled to graduate the day after the deadline, you will have to wait for the next session to submit your application.

- Yes. In the application form you can declare up to three mother tongues. You do not have to send any certificates and no points will be given during the assessment. Points are awarded only on the basis of merits.

- No. Living or working abroad is not equal to being proficient in a given language. Nor providing a certificate issued many years ago coupled with the assumption that your current level is higher. If you declare a high level of language knowledge, you must prove it unequivocally.

- Not necessarily. 4 exams are the minimum requirement, not the maximum. Grades also play a relevant part in assessing your level. There is also a difference between C1 and C2, corresponding to Effective Operational Proficiency and Mastery respectively. If you have only these 4 exams to prove your declared C knowledge make sure that the grades are as high as to unequivocally prove your declared level.

- No. Marks are needed on your certificate/s in order to prove that not only have you attended courses, but also that you have successfully reached the declared level.

- It depends on the level you declare. If you attend a bilingual school (i.e. topics are taught in the language declared at proficient level), they are. Otherwise, depending on the grades and the years of study, they can be accepted as proof for A or B level (basic or intermediate user).

No. The OLS is not certified proof and is therefore not accepted as a supporting document.

No. You must send the valid ID for the nationality you are applying for. For example: if you have double citizenship for Belgium and Sweden, if you are applying as a Belgian, you must send your Belgian ID/passport; if you are applying as a Swede, you must send your Swedish ID/passport.

- You will be in more than one list but if you get selected by one institution and accept to make your traineeship there, you must withdraw your application from the other/s.

- The Traineeships Office is the Service in charge of the traineeship programme (Blue Book traineeships). Staff members of the Traineeships Office assist trainees prior to the trainees' arrival, and during their first weeks at the Commission. The Traineeships Office sends the trainees the placement offers and will be their contact point before their arrival. Upon the trainees' arrival, the Traineeships Office replies to any practical questions that they might have. During the traineeship, the Directorate-General in which a trainee works will guide the trainees. Only if a problem cannot be solved at their level, the service or the trainee can contact the Traineeships Office to find a solution.

No. You must have written proof, of every work experience that you declare in the application form. The proving documents must have the employer's heading and be duly signed and dated. Letters on plain paper, not dated, not specifying the work period and not duly signed are not accepted as proof. If the work experience you declare in the application does not match the supporting documents (dates and/or names of the employers are different), you will not pass the eligibility check.

Signed contracts, pay-slips for the whole declared work period and recommendation letters duly signed and dated are accepted. Please make sure that you obtain all the supporting documents before you start filling in your application form.

- No. In order to apply you must have obtained a full university degree. The university programme must be of at least three years, and without the diploma you will not be eligible for the Blue Book.

- You should have completed a full university degree of at least three years of studies at the time of submitting the application.

- Yes, you can apply for all of them. But if you then decide to do a traineeship of more than 6 weeks (42 calendar days) in any other European institution, EU body, EU Executive Agency, EU delegations or working for Members of Parliament (MEPs) or Advocates General at the EUCJ, you will no longer be eligible for the EC Blue Book traineeship.

- In this section you can mention studies that you have not completed yet, programmes and/or seminars and/or workshops that you attended and for which you insert the specific title.

Please make sure that you obtain all the supporting documents before you start filling in your application.

- You should provide a formal statement from your university confirming that you have obtained your degree. Date of the award and final mark awarded must be clearly indicated and match your declaration in the application form.

- Yes, but only if your university provides it. This document allows us to assess your academic curriculum.

- You must first fill in and save the "Personal details" section. The other sections can be completed in whatever order you choose. You may input data in several sessions as long as you have not pushed the "Submit" button. Before you click on the "Submit" button, make sure that you have read the website very carefully and duly taken note of the information. Then you should make sure that for whatever you declare you already have supporting documents to prove your declarations.

- Candidates are evaluated anonymously by evaluators and get points on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Level of education
  • Level of skills in one of the three European Commission working/procedural languages other than your mother tongues (up to three are accepted as mother tongues, for which supporting documents are not requested).
  • Level of skills in the remaining working/procedural languages, any other of the 21 official European languages as well as non-EU languages, if any.
  • Relevant working experience, if any
  • International profile (education/work abroad, mobility).
  • Motivation and quality of reasoning.
  • IT Skills, organisational skills, publications and rare domain of studies.

- No. You can only apply for one type of traineeship per session.

- For all questions regarding your registration with EU Login (European Commission's authentication service) see the EU Login FAQ page.

- The 24 official languages of the European Union are Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.

- The working/procedural languages of the European Commission are English, French and German.

- No. The encoding dates you declare in your application must match the exact dates you hold as written official proofs. E-mails are not accepted as proofs. Grouping education or training is not admitted. The declared work experience should be continuous employment lasting more than 6 weeks.

- No. Once you start filling in the application form, you can save it as many times as needed. You do not have to complete it and submit it in one go. However, once you have submitted the form, you cannot change it anymore.

- No. The language courses are only available to staff. However, trainees usually organise language courses amongst themselves with the help of the Trainees Committee. Most Communes (town districts) and the ULB (Brussels Free University) also organise language courses which are either free of charge or offered at reasonable fees.

- There is no possibility to extend traineeship within the traineeship programme. The ONLY exception is for members of the "Liaison Committee".

The Traineeships Office may allow:

  • up to 4 trainees to stay on at the end of the October traineeship for 1 month, and
  • up to 3 trainees to stay on at the end of the March traineeship for 3 months

in order to provide a link ("Liaison Committee") with the new intake of trainees.

The members of the Liaison Committee receive a new trainee placement offer and are then attached to the Youth programme, youth outreach tools and traineeships Unit in DG EAC. They work exclusively for the unit and not for the DG/Service they were attached to during their traineeship session.

- You should declare only work experience that is related to the profile that you have selected. Holiday or student jobs like pizza delivery, as well as jobs carried out on a casual basis only (i.e. in the evening, over the week-end, etc.) are not considered relevant. You should only declare continuous work experience of more than six weeks (minimum requirement: 43 days). Should you have work experience that you judge relevant but lasted less than or exactly 6 weeks, you could mention it in the "Motivation" or "Quality of reasoning" section, not in the section "Work experience".

The system allows you to indicate up to three work experiences. If you have more, select the most relevant ones.

- No. Your profile will be in the Blue Book for one session only. If your application has not been successful for this session and you want to apply again for the next, you have to introduce a new application for the new session.

- No. If you decline the offer, your application is automatically excluded from the Blue Book for that session. You can apply again for the new session, but it is not guaranteed that you will successfully pass the pre-selection, be pre-identified and then selected again.

- No. There is no limit of age to participate in the traineeship programme.

- Yes. After the traineeship, trainees receive an "in-service training certificate" from the Traineeships Office. This certificate is only an administrative one, stating the name of the DG/Service the trainee was assigned to and the start and end dates.

It is sent by the Traineeships Office to the trainees about one month after the end of the traineeship period, together with a financial attestation, mentioning the amount of the grant and the deductions made for insurance.

If trainees want a reference letter, they should contact their advisers before they leave. Generally, the adviser will give a copy of the "stage report" (end of in-service training report) that he has to encode in the on-line evaluation of the trainee.

This stage report is a reference document for the specific performance of each trainee. If this report cannot be prepared by the time of the trainee's departure, it should be sent to the trainee if they so wish.

The stage report is not sent automatically by the Traineeships Office to the trainees!

- Yes. You can apply as often as you want.

- Yes. For all documents that are not written in an official language of the European Union, you have to attach to the original a translation in any of the 24 official languages of the EU but preferably in one of the three working/procedural ones.

- No, if you (have) worked for more than 6 weeks, or 42 calendar days (week-ends included) in any European institution, EU Body, EU Executive Agency, EU delegations, for Members of Parliament (MEPs) or Advocates General at the EUCJ.

 

- Yes, if you (have) worked for less than 6 weeks, or 42 calendar days (week-ends included) in any European Institution, EU Body, EU Executive Agency, EU delegations, for Members of Parliament (MEPs) or Advocates General at the EUCJ.

- No. The documents are not stored in the application tool.

- No. Certified translations are not required but highly appreciated.

- Under exceptional circumstances the trainee may submit a written request stating the relevant reasons and a proper justification for the interruption of his traineeship.

The Head of the Traineeships Office may – after consultation with the adviser and the DG/Service to which the trainee is assigned – authorise the requested interruption for a given period. In this case, the grant is suspended and the trainee is not entitled to reimbursement of any travel expenses which may arise during the period of interruption. The trainee may return to complete the unfinished part of his training, but only up to the end of the same training period. No extension is possible!

- If trainees wish to terminate their traineeship earlier than the date specified in the trainee placement offer, they must inform their adviser and submit a written request to the Traineeships Office for approval. This request can be sent by e-mail to the Traineeships Office, the adviser and the stage coordinator. It must include relevant reasons and is to be submitted at least 15 working days in advance of the new termination date foreseen.

Trainees may only terminate their traineeship on the 15th or the last day of the month.

- Trainees can attend some training courses organised within their DGs/Services according to their practices. Trainees cannot apply on their own for training courses organised by DG HR.

- Yes, but in exceptional cases only: the Director General of the Directorate-General or Service in which a trainee has been placed may grant authorisation for a trainee to be sent on mission, on the condition that the mission is of a technical nature and not of a representative one.

The mission must be paid by the Directorate-General concerned. The Traineeships Office does not have a budget to pay for trainees' missions.

- Please be informed that Blue Book trainees are not allowed to provide business cards that contain their name in connection with the Directorate-General, professional (e-)mail address, European Commission logo or even the title Blue Book trainee. They can print business cards with their name and private address – without any connection to the European Commission.

Please go to the website of the Trainees Committee to find out more about this association for trainees that organises language courses, social events, parties, networking drinks and much more. On their website you will also find more information about life in Brussels in general.

- You will find all information and deadline in your EU Login account and on the intranet "How to claim your travel allowance".

- No. There is no official dress code. However you are expected to dress adequately.

- Approximately 10-12 weeks after the closing date of the application period, you will receive a message that you have been pre-identified for the Blue Book. Please do not contact the Traineeships Office about this. Every session, between 10,000-15,000 (or even more) applications are introduced and it takes some time to process all of them.

- When you receive the message that you have been pre-identified for the Blue Book, you have only passed the first phase of pre-selection. The second phase is the verification of supporting documents/eligibility check. During the second phase of pre-selection your application is checked against your supporting documents/proofs. Only if you send all documents and confirm the information provided in the CV will you pass the eligibility check and be included in the Blue Book. If you do not send all documents or only insufficient/incomplete/incorrect proof is provided, you will fail the eligibility check and not be included in the Blue Book.

- After you have been pre-identified, you are asked to upload the supporting documents for your application in your EU Login account. The supporting documents serve as proof of education, work experience, language and IT skills, etc. The information given in your application will be checked against the information provided in your supporting documents.

Please make sure that you are in possession of supporting documents for all entries in your application form. If you cannot prove your declaration/s or the information does not match (in terms of dates, final marks, declared level of language, duration of work experience, name of the employers, etc.), your application will not be eligible to be included in the Blue Book.

  1. Copy of a valid passport or identity card proving the declared nationality in your application form
  2. Copies of all university diplomas you have declared to hold in your application, together with the corresponding university transcripts (i.e. the list of subjects that you have studied each year with the respective marks/grades per subject) or the Europass Diploma Supplement. Please make sure that the date of the awarded degree and the final mark are specified.
  3. Copies of proof of enrolment in ongoing studies, if applicable
  4. Copies of official proof of certificates (or equivalent), as indicated in your application form, for short-term studies and/or seminars attended, as well as certificates of university exchange programmes abroad, if applicable
  5. Copies of proof of declared language(s) knowledge, (mere attendance certificates for language courses are not accepted as proof!!), copies of degrees/diplomas (including bilingual education)/university transcripts explicitly stating that they are obtained in the referred language or official courses followed in those languages at any level of education. Please note that only a minimum of 4 university exams, duly marked and with the level of language specified can be accepted as proof of the declared language knowledge. Recommendation letters from professors are not accepted as only proof of declared language knowledge. Recommendation letters from employers are accepted only as proof of the declared work experience.
  6. Copies of proof of all declared working experience. This can be provided through a letter of reference by your employer, which must have a heading, be duly signed and dated and clearly mentioning the work period (letters on plain paper are not accepted as proof), copies of contracts or any other documents providing evidence of your employment history. E-mails are not accepted as proofs. Grouping education or training with work experience is not admitted.

All of the above mentioned documents can be provided in any of the 24 official languages of the European Union. Should these only be available in other languages, we ask you to provide a translation in one of the 24 EU languages.

- Not necessarily. Some DGs/Services may decide to contact candidates per e-mail or by phone for an informal interview. Others may reserve candidates without contacting them.

- In order to benefit from the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that you obtained in your home country, you must first register with a "Mutualité" (a medical insurance company).

 

The various Belgian "Mutualités" or "Mutuelles" are listed in the Yellow Pages. You need to take your Health Card with you when registering. Afterwards, you can seek partial reimbursement for medical expenses directly from the Mutualité.

 

Always take your EHIC with you when you consult a doctor/dentist or purchase prescribed medicines. Obtain a receipt for all medical treatment or expenses. You will need to submit original receipts when applying for reimbursements. In Belgium, around 75% of the cost of treatments and approved medicines will be refunded by your Mutualité.

There is no reimbursement of actual costs. You will receive a lump sum calculated on the basis of the distance between your place of origin and the place where you will be assigned to. You will receive the full lump sum only if you complete the 5-month duration of the traineeship. (50% only in case of an early termination or interruption of traineeship after completion of at least 3 months).

The documents proving your place of origin will have to be uploaded in your personal EU Login account.

You will be responsible for keeping the original copy of that/those document(s) (evidence of place of origin) available for possible controls for a period of two years.

- Yes. You will be informed about your job description prior to the acceptance of the job offer.

- There is no need to contact DG/Services until your name appears in the Blue Book.

On the other hand, once you have passed this stage, you can contact them and let them know about your motivation. However, be aware that some DGs or services do not wish to be contacted.

Therefore, we recommend you to contact only the DGs/services included in the list which will have been communicated to you at the same time as the message informing you of your pre-selection.

- After you are pre-identified, you will be asked to provide digital copies of proofs of declared language knowledge. These proofs can be presented in the form of valid language certificates, where the level declared in the application form is mentioned (mere attendance certificates for language courses are not accepted as proof!!), copies of degrees/diplomas (including bilingual education)/university transcripts obtained in the referred language or official courses followed in those languages at any level of education. Please note that only a minimum of 4 university exams, duly marked and with the level of language specified can be accepted as proof of the declared language knowledge. Recommendation letters from professors are not accepted as only proof of declared language knowledge. Recommendation letters from employers are accepted only as proof of the declared work experience..

- If you already possess valid certificates/test scores, you can provide them as proof of declared language knowledge. However, you do not need to take the tests if you are able to provide a proof of language knowledge in another way.

- No. The Commission does not provide accommodation.

- Look on the Trainees' Committee website in the Housing section for a list of websites. The Trainees' Committee also maintains an accommodation listing of its own, only accessible with the log-in details you will receive with your placement offer. On the Trainees Committee website you can also find a list of housing websites.

- The Traineeships Office uses the results from the report to improve the programme itself for future trainees.

- Yes, there is an online questionnaire which needs to be filled in. The link will be sent to you along with information about the procedure towards the end of your stage to your work email. You will also receive a questionnaire around one month after the start of the stage, which will also be sent to your work email. The questionnaire is carried out in an anonymous way.

- You will be assigned to a Directorate General, Agency, Undertaking or Body. More information on the DGs and their activities is available on the website.

- No. The Commission does not cover accommodation expenses. Trainees pay on average between €350–€550 per month for accommodation (for a flat, studio, or a shared apartment). In addition, be prepared to pay 1 or 2 months' rent as deposit.

- Yes, you can keep your own health insurance policy from your own country as long as you have the European Health Insurance Card. As you must have health insurance, you have to provide proof of coverage to the Traineeships Office. Your European Health Insurance Card is the proof of coverage. If you cannot provide the Traineeships Office with this proof, you will be automatically subscribed to the Commission's health insurance policy.

 

Please check with your own insurance company if your insurance is valid for the whole period of your traineeship. Find out about the conditions and rules for reimbursement of medical expenses as well as about the necessary procedures to be reimbursed. Furthermore, trainees based in Brussels should check if they need to register with a "mutualité" for reimbursement! In Luxembourg, there are insurance companies which can ensure complementarity.

 

Note that the procedures and rules may differ from one insurance company to another as well as from one country to another! If you have your own health insurance and you need to register with a "mutualité" to obtain reimbursement for your expenses, you can find a list of "mutualités" on the INAMI website for Brussels and on EDITUS for Luxembourg.

- Trainees who have opted for the Health Insurance provided by the Commission can extend their cover for a maximum period of six months immediately after their stage (without interruption). This extension will help you to avoid a waiting period without reimbursements whilst you are registering with another insurance company. The costs and conditions applicable to this extension differ from the insurance during the stage.

When submitting a claim, you will need to indicate the period of the extension of medical cover. This prolongation will only cover medical expenses resulting from illness or pregnancy and not costs from accidents. For further information, please contact the Traineeships Office.

- Any claims should be submitted directly to Allianz Worldwide Care Company.

The claims process is as follows: (1) first, you will need to pay the bill yourself, (2) then fill in the medical expenses claims form and do not forget to attach the original invoices and proof of payment of the bill (e.g., a bank transfer document). Always keep a copy of the form and the invoices!

Payments are made by the insurance company. It will take approximately two weeks to receive the reimbursement. Please do not contact the Traineeships Office about reimbursements as they cannot help you. Contact Allianz Worldwide Care directly: +32 2 210 6501.

- No. You are responsible for your own possessions both inside and outside the Commission. The Commission is not responsible for loss, theft or damage to property or personal effects. Some landlords may have insurance – please verify with your landlord what insurance coverage, if any, may be included in your monthly rent charges. Your bank or an insurance company may be able to offer you home insurance or other options. Please speak to your banker when opening your account.

- Your Adviser is a staff member of the Unit where you will be allocated to and has a similar role to a direct line manager during your stage. You will be working with him/her and he/she is the one who will guide you during your work and role in the unit. The adviser is responsible for monitoring the daily work of the trainee; welcomes the trainee to his Unit and introduces him/her to the staff; establishes the job description and explains what the trainee is expected to do; and has an administrative role (checks the absences, etc.) He/she will also have to write a report about your performance at the end of your traineeship.

- When you start your traineeship, you will normally meet first with the Trainees Coordinator of your service or DG, who is usually a person from the Human Resources Unit. He/she welcomes the trainees to the DG and usually organises a series of meetings for them to get an overview of the structure and work of the DG in which the trainee is going to work. The Trainees Coordinator is responsible for all the trainees in your DG. If you have any problems at work, you should speak with him or her.

- Plan some expenses like a deposit (one to two months) for your accommodation. Also be aware that local living standards might be higher than in your country.

- The first living allowance is paid at the end of the first month. Then you will receive it by the 15th of each month.

- At any stage of the application process, applicants may withdraw their application by informing the Traineeships Office in writing. In such case, they are excluded from any further stage of the process. They may re-apply for a subsequent training period. It is, however, necessary to submit a fresh application, together with all supporting documents.

- The living allowance for the traineeship will be 1,159.44€ per month as of 1st March 2017.

- The living allowance awarded to trainees does not fall under the special tax regulations applying to officials and other servants of the European Communities. At the end of the traineeship the Traineeships Office will provide a financial declaration on the amounts received. You will have to consult the tax authorities in your country of residence concerning how and if your allowances will be taxed.

- Your lease contract should be in written form – read it carefully before signing. Do not accept a lease contract for longer than the period of your traineeship and check if charges (electricity, gas, heating, internet, etc.) are included. The guarantee deposit corresponds to 1 to 2 months' rent maximum. The deposit is placed on a joint blocked bank account (compte bancaire bloqué) in your name and your landlord's name. It is refunded at the end of the contract, after having verified the "état des lieux". It is prohibited by law to pay the deposit in cash and you must not agree to pay the deposit in this way as then you have no way to get the money back.

 

The joint blocked bank account can be opened under your name by any bank where you present yourself with a lease contract and an identity card. You will receive three forms that have to be filled in and signed by both the landlord and yourself. You need to transfer the deposit to this bank account.

 

The "état des lieux" describes the general condition and the inventory of the property and should be signed by both parties. It will be added to the lease agreement. At the end of the lease, the state of the property is examined again in order to determine whether the owner can demand payment for any damages made to the property during the rental period.

- Details on the accident insurance can be found on the CIGNA Health and Benefits website. You will be automatically subscribed to the Commission's accident insurance policy and a small fee (less than €1) will be deducted from your living allowance each month. It is mandatory to be subscribed to the Commission's accident insurance policy.

- Yes. Once you have a first claim, you have to register with a local "mutualité". They will inform you on specific reimbursement conditions.

- If you have an account in the Eurozone, you can keep your bank account in your home country and get information yourself on how to use your bank cards in the place where you will be doing your traineeship. For trainees outside the Eurozone it could be easier to open a bank account in Brussels or in Luxembourg: it could facilitate the transfer of your grant (shorter deadlines) and you will avoid any extra charges for using your credit/debit card abroad.

- Most Belgian banks offer free bank accounts to people under the age of 26. Please check with your chosen bank to see if this is the case.

- There are two training periods per year:

  • from 1 March to end July
  • from 1 October to end February of the following year.

Within these two periods, the traineeship may last a minimum of three and a maximum of five months. Training contracts start on either the 1st March or on the 1st October. However, in exceptional and duly justified cases, after agreement with the recruiting Directorate General or Service, the date of commencement may be deferred, as long as the minimum traineeship period is respected. In any case, contracts begin on the 1st or the 16th of the month. Training periods may not be repeated or extended beyond the maximum length indicated or beyond the end of the training period. The Traineeships Office may, if necessary, fix another date of commencement and length of the training period in the case of specific trainee groups (interpreters, etc.).

- The Commission works 40 hours a week, 8 hours per day. Official working hours are 8:30-12:30 and 13:30-17:30. The minimum lunch break is 20 minutes. Your actual working hours will depend on your unit and your workload – please check with your adviser when you arrive. The core hours when all staff is required to be present are 9:30 - 12:00 and 15:00 - 16:30.

 

The Human Resource Unit of the Directorates General and Services concerned, or their equivalent, oversee that the above rules are respected. Leave requests should respect the needs of the Service. They must first be approved by your adviser and then checked and approved by the person responsible for holidays within the relevant Directorate General or Service.

- No. Your leave requests should respect the needs of the Service. You should speak to your adviser and agree with them when you will take leave.

- Trainees are entitled to 2 days leave per month. This entitlement is acquired pro rata counting from the first day of the month. Days of leave not taken are not paid in lieu. Days for trips and visits organised either by the Traineeships Office Unit or by the Trainees Committee and days taken for participation in any competition, exam or university work, etc. are to be deducted from this entitlement. In all cases, you must inform your adviser when you are not going to be in the office. The Commission is closed on main public holidays, as well as Christmas and Easter.

For the October 2016 session:

  • 1 November (Tuesday, All Saints' Day)
  • 2 November (Wednesday, All Souls' Day)
  • 26 December to 30 December (5 end-of-year days)
  • 2 January (Monday, day following New Year's Day)

For the March 2017 session:

  • 13 April (Maundy Thursday)
  • 14 April (Good Friday)
  • 17 April (Easter Monday)
  • 9 May (Tuesday, Anniversary of the Declaration by President Schuman in 1950)
  • 25 May (Thursday, Ascension Day)
  • 26 May (Friday, day following Ascension Day)
  • 5 June (Whit Monday)
  • 21 July (Friday, Belgian National Holiday)

Luxembourg: the above dates also apply to Luxembourg, except that Friday 21 July is replaced by Friday 23 June, the Luxembourg national holiday.

- Visa costs and related medical fees may be reimbursed together with the travel expenditures.

- Most banks are open from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 16:30. Usually you will need an appointment in order to open a bank account. Please check with your chosen bank if this is the case.

Some banks have service desks in the lobby that help you set up an appointment. Banks become especially busy at the beginning of the stage period – please keep this in mind when you're planning to open a bank account in Belgium.

Do not forget to take your passport, a copy of your apartment lease contract and your traineeship placement offer. Please check with your chosen bank if you need to bring any other documents.

- No. At the Administrative Welcome conference, you will only receive a short guide with the details of the insurance company and information on the procedure to claim reimbursement of medical expenses.

There is no nominative health insurance card.

- Not necessarily. We accept documents in all 24 official EU languages. However should you wish to provide a translation, make sure that the original documents are always included.

- You will find a list of all buildings with maps and other information on the Infrastructure and Logistics website (OIB).

Always carry your badge with you, otherwise you will not be able to enter the Commission buildings.

- The European Health Insurance card replaces the forms previously used such as the E111 or the E128. The model for the card is identical in all Member States of the European Union – this guarantees a simplified procedure for receiving medical assistance during a temporary stay.

 

The European Health Insurance card indicates your name, your date of birth and an identification number but no medical data. The card (or a provisional replacement certificate) guarantees reimbursement of health care costs locally or very soon after your return home. It cannot be used for private sector health care providers.

- The monthly contribution for medical insurance (if you opted for the Commission insurance with Allianz Worldwide Care Company) is around €13. You MUST have health insurance.

Please inform the Traineeships Office immediately if there are any issues with your personal coverage.

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