Programme of traineeships for people with disabilities in the Secretariat of the European Parliament

The European Parliament promotes equality of opportunity and encourages applications from women and men with disabilities for its traineeship programmes. In 2006 the European Parliament launched a specific traineeship programme for people with disabilities. This programme is a positive action measure, as described in Article 4 of the Code of Good Practice for the Employment of People with Disabilities.


The main purpose of the programme is to offer a number of persons with disabilities a meaningful work experience as a trainee in the European Parliament, giving them an opportunity to familiarise themselves with its activities.

Additional objectives are:

  • to put the European Parliament’s equal opportunities principles into practice by supporting people with disabilities in gaining professional experience, and thereby enhancing their opportunities for future employment;
  • to provide the European Parliament with the contribution and positive experience that disabled trainees will bring to its work and culture;
  • to contribute to raising the general awareness of disability among Parliament staff, helping to remove barriers to the integration of people with disabilities.

Programme outline

The programme offers five-month paid traineeships to disabled candidates, and is run in addition to the other options for traineeships and study visits in the Secretariat of the European Parliament. Being exempted from Article 18 of the Internal Rules Governing Traineeships and Study Visits in the Secretariat of the European Parliament, it offers candidates without a university degree the same conditions as other paid trainees.

Reasonable accommodation

If needed, trainees will be provided with reasonable accommodation at work to enable them to carry out the essential functions of the job to which they are assigned. As defined in Article 1 d (4) of the Staff Regulations of Officials and Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Community, reasonable accommodation means ‘appropriate measures, where needed, to enable a person with a disability to have access to, participate in, or advance in employment, or to undergo training, unless such measures would impose a disproportionate burden on the employer’.

In the online application form, applicants are required to complete the 'Disability' section (disability description and specific needs inside and outside the workplace), which is used as the basis for arranging specific accessibility adaptations. If information concerning specific accessibility needs provided by applicants in this form is not substantial and precise enough, it might cause delays in providing trainees with reasonable accommodation at work. In the worst case, if the European Parliament would not be able to offer trainees any temporary solution, this might result in the suspension or termination of a traineeship due to imperative operational reasons, as defined in Article 9 of the Internal Rules.

Any information about candidates' disabilities is used only within the European Parliament and only for the purposes of providing the specific adaptations in the workplace and of facilitating successful candidates in their search for accessible housing, transport and assistance.

Accessible housing, transport and assistance

The European Parliament will provide trainees with information concerning possible options for accessible housing, transport and assistance, but does not guarantee the arrangement of these facilities. Trainees are primarily responsible for obtaining accommodation, signing the lease contract and paying the deposit.

A disability allowance may be provided to help cover extra costs related to accessible housing, transport and assistance. No additional payment is available if trainees' expenses exceed the scholarship and disability allowance.


The programme was launched in liaison with the European Disability Forum (EDF), to ensure that it reaches a large number of potential candidates in all Member States of the European Union and applicant countries.


Applicants must:

  • be nationals of a Member State of the European Union or of an applicant country;
  • be aged 18 or over on the traineeship starting date;
  • have a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the European Union and a good knowledge of a second;
  • not have been awarded any other paid traineeship, or have been in paid employment for more than four consecutive weeks, with a European institution or a Member or political group of the European Parliament;
  • be able to certify that they have a disability/ies (medical certificate or disability card/certificate issued by a national authority).


Candidates can only apply using the online application form for the traineeship for persons with disabilities.

Admission procedure

Candidates will be selected after an evaluation of the applicant’s merit and skills, matching the applicant’s profile to the trainee placements available. The evaluation will be based on the information provided in the application. If candidates are of equal merit, a balance between men and women and a balance in their geographical origin will be sought, as far as the limited number of traineeships allows.

Traineeship conditions

  • Monthly allowance
    Candidates admitted to this traineeship programme will be paid a monthly allowance of 1,130,56 euros (2008) if the traineeship takes place in Brussels or Luxembourg. This amount is adjusted for the Information Offices in the Member States according to the cost of living index.
  • Additional costs related to disability
    Trainees’ additional costs directly related to their disability may be covered by up to a maximum of 50 % of the amount of the monthly scholarship, in accordance with Article 20(8) of the Internal Rules.
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses incurred at the beginning and end of the traineeship
    Article 11 of the Internal Rules applies.
  • Insurance
    Trainees will be covered by the compulsory Accident and Health insurance, as specified in Article 13 of the Internal Rules.

Applicable rules

The Internal Rules Governing Traineeships and Study Visits in the Secretariat of the European Parliament will apply for any aspect of the traineeship programme which is not explicitly covered in this programme description.

Monitoring and evaluation of the programme

Trainees, supervisors and the departments concerned will be asked to evaluate their experience, in order to identify possible changes or improvements to the programme. The implementation of the programme will be monitored and an assessment made at the end of each traineeship period by the Equal Opportunities and Diversity Unit.