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Traineeship 2019/2020 - Help build a more effective, accountable, transparent and ethical administration in the EU

Our mission is to serve democracy by working with the institutions of the European Union to create a more effective, accountable, transparent and ethical EU administration.

To fulfil this mission, we deal with complaints concerning maladministration by EU institutions, conduct own-initiative inquiries into systemic issues, and encourage good administrative practices in the EU's administration. We work to build trust and dialogue between the public and the EU institutions, and to promote the highest standards of accountability and transparency within the EU administration.

Our guiding principles are independence, integrity, fairness, accountability, transparency, dialogue, and service.

Equal opportunities

The European Ombudsman is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from anybody who meets the required qualifications. We will try to accommodate the needs of applicants with disabilities.

1. 2019/2020 traineeships

We invite you to apply for a traineeship starting either on 1 September 2019 or on 1 January 2020. We offer paid traineeships for an initial period of four months, which can be extended by eight months (subject to an assessment of trainees’ performance).

The Ombudsman is offering traineeships in:

  1. case handling[1]
  2. media and communication
  3. web development

2. Eligibility criteria and required qualifications

Candidates should be nationals of a Member State of the European Union, or of an accession/candidate country.

Candidates should not have benefited, for more than eight consecutive weeks or two full months, from a previous paid traineeship or work contract in a European institution, body, agency, office, service, delegation, representation, including the office of a Member of the European Parliament or of a European political group.

They should have thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the EU and very good knowledge of another. The main working language of the Ombudsman’s office is English and therefore very good knowledge of English is required.

Candidates applying for case handling should have a degree or diploma of at least 3 years in: law, political science, European studies, European public administration, international relations, audit and/or economics.

Candidates applying for media and communication should have a degree or diploma of at least 3 years in communication, journalism or media, with focus on online media and/or digital marketing.

Candidates applying for web development should have a degree or diploma of at least 3 years in software development and engineering.

3. Selection criteria

Candidates applying for case handling and communication should have sound:

  • understanding of the role of the European Ombudsman;
  • understanding of the EU institutions;
  • drafting skills in English;
  • drafting skills in another official language of the European Union;
  • analytical and research skills.

Additionally, candidates should fulfil one or more of the following specific selection criteria:

Case handling

Media and communication

Very good knowledge of the EU’s administration

Very good knowledge of the functionalities of social media platforms and content management systems

Strong understanding of EU institutional law or at least one other specific area of EU law

Very good knowledge in creating and editing online content (including but not limited to infographics, videos, and Instagram stories)

Very good knowledge of human rights law

Knowledge of Adobe software: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or similar

Familiarity with EU policy areas and the related budgetary or financial procedures, as well as the applicable laws

Good understanding of the challenges related to the production of content for EU institutions and an ability to communicate complex matters simply, visually and creatively


Candidates applying for web development should have good knowledge of Java and HTML5/CSS3. Knowledge of Hibernate, Spring, Javascript, Angular, Oracle SQL would be an advantage.

4. Responsibilities and tasks

As a trainee in case handling you will:

  • Assist in the investigation of complaints (conduct research, draft decisions; prepare notes), including the handling of “out-of-mandate” complaints;
  • Carry out research relevant to the Ombudsman’s activities;
  • Assist in preparing information materials;
  • Provide language assistance;
  • Draft minutes of meetings.

As a trainee in media and communication you will:

  • Assist with communication-related tasks with a focus on social media (mainly LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter) and online communication tools, including website management;
  • Contribute to the implementation of the Unit's  strategy by proposing, producing and editing online content;
  • Assist in other communication activities, such as events, briefings, and publications;
  • Provide language assistance;
  • Draft minutes of meetings.

As a trainee in web development you will:

  • Assist in the development of the Ombudsman's Internet and Extranet sites (https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu) and of internal web based applications.
  • Use the following tools:
    • Design: IntelliJ / MS Visual Studio
    • Testing: JUnit, Selenium
    • Project Management: Jira
    • Quality: Sonar
    • Continuous Integration: Jenkins, Maven
    • Manager Version: Git
    • Servers: Apache Tomcat

5. Place of work

Brussels or Strasbourg

6. Deadline for applications

You must submit your application through the online application system on the Ombudsman’s website by 31 March 2019 (23:59) at the very latest.

Avoid waiting until the last minute to send a full application. Carefully read the rules and prepare the required documents (scanned) in advance, i.e., before starting the registration process.

For general information on traineeships, their aim, duration and monthly grants sees the Decision of the European Ombudsman concerning traineeships.


[1] Dealing with the complaints submitted to the Ombudsman; handling complaints that do not fall within the Ombudsman’s authority or powers of investigation or that cannot be continued for other reasons; replying to requests for information.