My time as a trainee in the European Parliament Information Office in London: an extraordinary experience during extraordinary times
Víctor Nauzet Hernández
Since I began my Bachelor´s Degree I had been dreaming of participating in the Robert Schuman traineeship programme granted by the European Parliament. I had always considered it as an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the work in such a transnational organisation, so soon after finishing a Master´s Degree in Communications of Organisations I applied for it. Finally, that long-awaited dream became true when I had the honour of being chosen as a Stagiaire for the European Parliament Information Office in the United Kingdom between October 2016 and February 2017.
My first day at the office proved how special and intense my time there was going to be. That day, 3rd of October, newspapers covered the speech delivered by Theresa May at the Conservative Party Conference the day before. “May focuses on ‘hard Brexit’”, “EU exit will be triggered by March” and “May fires starting pistol on Brexit with warning to SNP” were some of the headlines in the British papers. One of my first tasks was to monitor and analyse British media coverage of that Conference.
In fact, throughout my traineeship the media monitoring aspect represented a key part of my duties. As press assistant in the European Parliament Information Office in the UK since the EU referendum, I had a unique chance to deepen my knowledge not only on the Brexit process but also on the way in which the British media are covering the historical event.
While the media monitoring was an exciting part of my traineeship given my academic path, I also thoroughly enjoyed carrying out other tasks related to the press department. I undertook sectorial researches on topics of interest such as the Single European Railway Area or Europe 2020, which have allowed me to know in-depth important on-going projects in the EU. Likewise, I analysed the media coverage of Strasbourg’s plenaries and helped to update the newsletter that the London office releases every week with the upcoming activities of the European Parliament.
Another important part was media relations. I drafted invitations to UK-based journalists to plenaries and workshops that took place either in Brussels, Strasbourg or London. Furthermore, the EP gave me the opportunity to attend a plenary, and I finally chose the last session held in Strasbourg in 2016. During this four-day trip I could see first-hand the extent of the work done by the EP and was delighted to see Nadia Murad Basee Taha and Lamiya Aji Bashar receiving the Sakharov Prize 2017. I also attended several press conferences, DG Comm meetings and even interviewed some MEPs on a procedure that had been debated in the EP.
There is no chance that I will ever forget my time in the European Parliament, not only because it has represented a milestone in my career but also because I experienced it during a milestone for both the EU and the UK. I feel deeply thankful for this opportunity and encourage young professionals to apply for forthcoming calls.