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Blue Book traineeship programme.

This site is available in English, French and German – the three working languages of the European Commission.

Selection process

From application to selection: how does the process work?
Application open on a table with glasses and a cup of coffee.

1. Receipt of applications

Register, complete and submit your application.

For traineeships beginning in October, applications open in January.

Applications for traineeships beginning in March open in July.

2. Assessment and eligibility check

Once the application period has closed, candidates are evaluated on basis of academic profile, language skills and additional qualities, such as having an international profile, work experience, publications and the motivation for the application.

If you successfully pass this assessment step, you will be requested to upload all your supporting documents in a single pdf file. The Traineeships Office will then verify them.

Applications which do not follow the formal requirements are rejected.

A ranking is then established and around 3,000 candidates with the highest scores are pre-selected for the Virtual Blue Book (VBB).

The Virtual Blue Book is a database containing the CVs of all candidates who successfully pass both phases of the pre-selection: the initial assessment and eligibility check.

The Blue Book is available for all Commission services and agencies which can offer a trainee position to consult.

3. Selection

Directorates-General (DG) and Commission agencies consult the Blue Book to find the best candidates based on their specific needs and criteria (language skills, relevant studies and experience, etc.).

Some of them prefer to contact candidates directly, while others rely on the applications and choose not to make direct contact. All DGs select a list of preferred candidates. 

The Blue Book is then opened for all services to start reservations.

Receiving a traineeship offer in a particular DG or service will depend on the number of positions available.

There is a code of conduct among DGs for the selection of trainees. If two DGs, services or agencies would like to recruit the same candidate, the DG ranked highest in the candidate's preferences upon application automatically takes priority.

Questions related to the selection process

Copy of a valid passport or identity card proving the declared nationality in your application form

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) and a proof of minimum EQF 6 level. For more info on EQF levels, please consult Please ensure that the date of the awarded degree and the final mark are specified.

Copies of proof of enrolment in ongoing studies, if applicable.

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 for university exchange programmes abroad, if applicable

Documented written proof of declared language skills, indicating the level obtained. Accepted written proof includes

Language certificates clearly indicating the level issued by

  • language centres such as the Instituto Cervantes, Alliance Française, Goethe Institut, etc.
  • language schools recognised by the state issuing certified certificates
  • university language courses clearly indicating the level
  • university courses: BA or MA taught entirely in the declared language (this must be clear from the transcripts: the language of instruction must be given and the examination must be taken in said language)
  • proof of bilingual education at secondary school level such as European schools, International schools, etc.

A certificate of attendance at the course is not sufficient. 

Please note that a very good knowledge of at least one working language of the Commission – English, French, German – is required. The Commission considers that a C level corresponds to very good knowledge.

Copies of proof of all declared working experience. This can be provided by means of the following

  • 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)
  • copies of contracts clearly mentioning the work period
  • pay slips clearly mentioning the work period

E-mails are not accepted as proof. Grouping education or training with work experience is not admitted.

For digital skills and organisational skills, no proof is required.

Approximately 10-12 weeks after the closing date of the application you will receive a message inviting you to consult your Stage online account.

Please check your Spam filter and consult your Stage online account regularly in order not to miss this message.

Please do not contact the Traineeships Office about this. Every session, between 10,000-15,000 (or even more) applications are introduced and it takes some time to process all of them.

Candidates who succeed and make it to the Blue Book might be contacted for an informal interview by the Commission departments and agencies entitled to recruit trainees. However, there is no common approach as regards contacts.

You may be contacted by one or several Commission Directorates-General (DGs), Services or Agencies or not. Some prefer to interview candidates, and others select trainees based on the written applications. 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.

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 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. We accept documents in all official EU languages. However, should you wish to provide a translation, please ensure that the original documents are included.

No. Any contacts or interviews that a Commission DG/ 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 DG/ Service/ Agency decide to contact preselected candidates, the Traineeships Office does not intervene.