From application to selection –how does it actually work?

This page should provide you with clear explanations.

Did you know?

You may be contacted (or not) by one or several Commission Directorates-General (DGs), Services or agencies. The recruiting DG/Service/Agency is informed of the order of preference of DG/service/ agency you indicated in your application. Should more than one DG/service/agency express their wish to select you from the Blue Book, preference will be given according to the order you indicated in your application.

Candidates who succeed and make it to the Blue Book will receive a list of contact details from DGs/services/agencies, willing to accept enquiries from trainees. It is left to the discretion of trainees to make contact with these DGs/services/agencies or not.

However, should you be sought after by several DGs/ services/ agencies, there is a code of conduct among Directorates-General. If 2 DGs, services or agencies try to recruit the same candidate, the DG ranked highest in candidate's preference, would automatically take priority. If outside of your preferences, the Traineeships Office would intervene in the best interest of the candidate.

Any contacts you may have with recruiting DGs/services/agencies during the selection phase shall not be regarded as firm commitments on the Commission behalf.

Your recruitment becomes official only once the Traineeships Office has sent you the placement offer. You will be informed in your Stage Online Account. Please note that, if selected, you will receive only one placement offer for each traineeship session and you have the choice to accept or reject this offer.

No. Any contacts or interviews that a Commission DGs/ service/ agency may wish to arrange by telephone or email, are strictly part of the selection process and cannot be considered as the final placement offer.

The placement offer is the only document with legal value offering an opportunity to a given candidate for a traineeship with the Commission. Such an offer can only be sent by the Traineeships Office, which is solely responsible for the traineeship programme.

Should a DGs/ service/ agency decide to contact preselected candidates, the Traineeships Office does not intervene.

  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 ensure 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. Documented written 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. Documented written proof of declared language(s) knowledge, indicating the level obtained, by way of example:
    • a. Language certificates (including exam marks and level of attainment. Attendance certificates for language courses do not count;
    • b. 'Bachelor' or equivalents/diplomas/transcripts obtained in the declared language (could be considered proof of C level)
  6. Please note that a very good language of at least one working language of the Commission – English, French, German – is required; the Commission considers that a C level corresponds to a very good knowledge.
  7. Copies of proof of all declared working experience. This can be provided by means of the following:
    • a. a letter of reference by your employer, with heading, duly signed and dated and clearly mentioning the work period (letters on plain paper are not accepted as proof),
    • b. copies of contracts
    • c. pay slips.
  8. E-mails are not accepted as proof. Grouping education or training with work experience is not admitted. For computer skills, no proof is required.

Please note that no evidence is required for computer or organisational skills.

No. We accept documents in all official EU languages. However should you wish to provide a translation, please ensure that the original documents are included.

When you receive the message that you have been pre-identified, you are required to provide the documentation to support the declarations made in your application. Be careful, many candidates feel short of time at this point – plan your documents from the beginning of your application. Please note that the deadline is absolute – if you miss it you will be excluded.

The next phase is therefore the verification of supporting documents, also called "eligibility check". During this phase of the pre-selection your application is checked by two independent evaluators (not necessarily the same that evaluated your application) against your supporting documents/proof.

Only if you send all documents and these match 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 if insufficient/incomplete/incorrect proof is provided, you risk failing the eligibility check and thus exclusion from the Blue Book.

Please provide evidence only for what you declared. If you finished studies after the application, do not send proof of them, since it only confuses evaluators and does not change your evaluation, which was finalised previously.

1. Receipt of applications

Register, fill in and submit the application form.

Traineeships beginning in October: applications open in January.

Traineeships beginning in March: applications open July-August.

2. Assessment

Every single application is assessed on the basis of academic profile, language skills and additional qualities, such as international profile, work experience, publications and motivation.

A ranking is then established and around 2000 candidates with the highest scores are pre-identified for the Virtual Blue Book.

The applications which do not comply with formal requirements are rejected.

3. Selection

European Commission units select candidates according to their internal specific needs and criteria (languages, studies, experience, etc.)

Only 650 trainees are actually recruited for each session.

Recruitment procedure



Twice a year:

  • Traineeships beginning in October:
    applications open in January of the same year.

  • Traineeships beginning in March:
    applications open July-August of the previous year.



Your application is evaluated


by two independent evaluators.



Quotas by nationality are applied for EU candidates to ensure a spread of nationalities.

A weighting system is applied to determine the number of preselected applicants for a given EU nationality.

Population size and number of applications from a given country are taken into account, with safeguards to ensure that smaller countries are adequately represented. Third countries are grouped together in a single quota.

National thresholds vary for each session, based on number and quality of applications.



You have submitted

all requested documents

and received confirmation of a successful upload.

The eligibility of your file will be checked

against information provided in your application.



Around 2,000 pre-selected candidates

get into the Blue Book data base:

there are 3 times more candidates than places available

(around 650 per session).



Interviews may be conducted by phone at the initiative of the recruiting entity.

Candidates may contact DG's
using the email address(es) listed in the notification message.



If selected

you will receive an official placement offer
from the Traineeships Office,

which you can accept or refuse.

Any unofficial communication between applicants
and DGs/Agencies/Bodies does not constitute an offer.



YES = Traineeship

NO = No traineeship for this session.

Candidate can submit a new application for the next session(s).