It is not unusual that interns do not get paid. This is not something new anymore. However, the Ombudsman ordered the European Foreign Service that they should stop their unpaid internship programs.
The EU Observer reported that EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly told the European External Action Service (EEAS) that they should pay all their interns. O’Reilly came up with such decision after the complaint of an Austrian woman who had worked as an unpaid intern in an EU delegation in Asia. She made an investigation about the said issue and heard the intern as well as the EU Foreign Service’s sides.
The ombudsman pointed out those internships provided by the EU Foreign Service is very beneficial because this will serve as a good stepping stone. That is why she said the importance of having it open to all walks of life.
However, given the travel, housing, and insurance expenses, not everyone is fortunate enough to afford that. That makes it hard for other young individuals to apply for such unpaid internships. With that, limited career opportunities will be given to those who came from poor backgrounds.
"This may, eventually, lead to fewer future job opportunities for the less privileged, initiating a vicious circle where privilege follows privilege", said O’Reilly.
According to Politico, the EEAS denied the allegations that the process of hiring unpaid interns has something to do with discrimination based on “social origin.” Maja Kocijančič, EEAS spokeswoman said that they “took note of the assessment.” Kocijančič also added that they are already looking into it and that they might ask the EU 2018 budget to include payments for interns.
O’Reilly then suggested the EU Foreign Service should pay for an “appropriate allowance.” Doing this will show that there is really no social discrimination and at the same time will encourage young individuals to apply for the internship no matter what their social standing is.
Meanwhile, Jobs & Hire reported that Jessica Pointing, a junior at Harvard University shared some helpful tips on how she was able to get internship offers successful companies in the United States.