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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?

1. Receipt of applications

You register, complete and submit your application together with all supporting documents.

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 ended, your application is evaluated on basis of academic profile, language skills and additional competences, skills and qualities, such as having an international profile, work experience, certificates and other achievements.

Applications not meeting eligibility criteria and formal requirements or unsupported or supported only partially by justification documents are rejected.  

The highest scored candidates, around 3 000 successful candidates, are included into the Virtual Blue Book (VBB).

3. Selection

Candidates included in the Blue Book are invited to apply for up to three traineeship positions.   

You will receive instructions to connect to Virtual Blue Book portal where Commission Directorates-General (DGs), services  and agencies propose various positions for the nearest traineeship session. The number of proposed positions matches the number of trainees per session.    

Carefully read the job description and the details of the post. You may mark as many positions as you like as favourites.  You may apply for up to three posts in parallel.  

Applications for traineeship positions in VBB will be allowed for one week. Post openings will be unpublished as soon as the maximum number of applicants has been reached or after one week. During the following two weeks, Directorates-General (DGs), services and agencies will select the most suitable candidates from all candidates who applied for their posts.     

Certain Commission departments or agencies entitled to select trainees might contact their candidates directly for an informal interview, while others rely solely on the application forms.   

If none of your 3 applications in VBB is successful, you still have a chance to be selected by any Service whose opening has not yet been closed.   

After the first selection round, DGs, services and agencies will still have access to the complete list of unselected candidates. This second selection phase will continue as long as there are vacant positions or until the VBB is closed. 

Questions related to the selection process

You should provide the following documents, preceded by a table of contents, in this order:

0. Table of contents showing the list of documents in the PDF, point by point.

1. Copy of a valid passport or identity card proving the nationality indicated in the application form.

2.  Copies of all university degrees indicated in the application form, together with transcripts from the relevant university (i.e. list of subjects studied each year) and proof of a minimum European Qualifications Framework (EQF) level 6.

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Please ensure that the date of graduation and final grades are indicated.

3. Copy of proof of enrolment in current studies, if applicable.

4. Copies of certifications/licenses obtained, as indicated in the application form, if applicable.

5. Copies of evidence of all declared work experience in the home country, as indicated in the application form, if applicable.

This may include

  • letters of reference from an employer, which must be headed, duly signed, dated and clearly indicate the period of work
  • contracts that clearly state the period of work
  • pay slips which clearly state the period of work

Note: Letters written on plain paper without a letterhead are not acceptedas evidence, nor are e-mails.

6. Copies of evidence of all international experience indicated in the application form, if applicable.

For work experience, this may include

  • letters of reference from an employer, which must be headed, duly signed, dated and clearly indicate the period of work
  • contracts that clearly state the period of work
  • pay slips which clearly state the period of work

Note: Letters written on plain paper without a letterhead are not acceptedas evidence, nor are e-mails.

For experience of mobility abroad, this may include

  • copies of diplomas obtained abroad
  • Erasmus certificates
  • certificates from study exchange programmes
  • certificates of volunteer work

Note: Letters written on plain paper without a letterhead are not acceptedas evidence, nor are e-mails.

7. Copies of evidence of language skills declared in the application form.

This may include

  • certificates of language courses clearly indicating the level of knowledge achieved issued by
    • language centres such as Instituto Cervantes, Alliance française, Goethe Institut, ...
    • state-recognised language schools issuing certified attestations
  • University course: BA or MA taught wholly or partly in the language declared, i.e. corresponding to at least half of the credits needed to obtain the degree (this must be clear from the transcripts: the teaching must be given and the examinations taken and passed in the said language)
  • University transcripts showing language courses taken and passed with a clear indication of the level of knowledge achieved
  • certificates of bilingual education at secondary level issued by European Schools, international schools, ...

Note: Certificates of attendance are not sufficient.

In addition: A thorough knowledge of at least one of the Commission's working languages - English, French, German - is required. The Commission considers that level C of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages corresponds to a thorough knowledge.

8. For general skills, no certificate is required. However, you must justify them in the box provided for this purpose in the application form.

9. For numerical skills, proof is not compulsory but only recommended. However, you must provide evidence of these skills in the appropriate box on the application form.

10. For other achievements, it is not compulsory but only recommended that you provide evidence. You must nevertheless justify them in the box provided for this purpose on the application form.

The duration of the pre-selection procedures depends heavily on the number of applications received, but it usually spans 10-12 weeks. At the end of this period, you will receive a notification by email and a message will be published in your online account. We encourage you to check your account regularly to avoid missing email notifications caused by spam filters. 

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.

You will receive instructions to connect to Virtual Blue Book portal where Commission services and agencies propose various positions for the nearest traineeship session. The number of proposed positions matches the number of trainees per session. Carefully read the job description and the details of the post. You may mark as many positions as you like as favourites.  

Candidates may apply for up to three posts. Applications for traineeship positions in VBB will be allowed for one week. Post openings will be unpublished after one week. During the following two weeks, Services will select the most suitable candidates from all candidates who applied for their posts.  

Certain Commission departments or Agencies entitled to select trainees might contact their candidates for an informal interview. 

After the first selection phase described above, Services will receive access to select candidates from the complete list of previously unselected candidates. This second selection phase will continue as long as there are vacant positions.  

The selection is final and becomes official only when the Traineeships Office issues the Placement Offer in your Online Account. You have the choice of accepting or rejecting the offer, but if you reject the offer, it will automatically exclude you from any future offers for that session – effectively ending that session for you.

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.