Call for Trainees

Publishing date: 23 September, 2017

EuAbout is a young organization ( based in Brussels. EuAbout is specialized on services of general interests such as energy, transport, water, waste and education (mainly on Vocational Education and Training (VET)). EuAbout is specialised in monitoring and evaluating policies and programmes through evidence-based methodologies, approaches and tools. The main idea is to combine human, social cohesion, environment and economic sustainability. Therefore, climate change, circular economy, social labour inclusion of disadvantaged people (migrants, refugees, disabled, women victim of traffic or violence, etc.) are topics/targets under the lens of the organization.

EuAbout is searching trainees with strong background or motivation on the aforementioned topics for the next 12 months starting from November 2017.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For the application, please send your CV and motivation letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





 Minimum wages increased in most EU countries last year in an effort to redress social dumping, a new research has found.

According to a new report, published by Eurofound, the European Foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions, there was a boost in the level of minimum wages in 2016.

For a long while the idea of a European minimum wage was something that took the backseat in EU policy. Now it is taking centre stage. To combat inequality and poverty, the European Commission has pushed all member states to introduce minimum wages for their workers.

“There should be a minimum salary in each country of the European Union,” Jean-Claude Juncker told a conference on social rights in Brussels last month, adding that those seeking work should also have a guaranteed minimum level of income.

However, out of the 28 member states, just 22 use the scheme. In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden, the level of the minimum wage is set in sectoral collective agreements.

Within the last year, the increase in minimum wages accelerated, with the largest gains in the newer EU member states.

Despite general convergence between the 22 EU countries using the scheme the differences remain stark, according to Eurofound. A worker on the minimum wage earns €1,999 per month in Luxembourg, compared to just €235 in Bulgaria.

Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic recorded the highest increases, continuing a seven year trend of consistent growth in these countries, albeit starting from very low levels.

The benefits of a return to economic growth are clear for low-wage workers in most member states, and only Greece recorded a lower minimum wage in 2017 than 2010.

Also other factors such as living standards and costs vary across the EU, as do levels of unemployment.

Juncker explained last month that a European minimum wage is important in the fight against social dumping.

Social dumping involves undercutting a country’s social system to reduce the cost of labour. In many instances this means moving production to lower wage countries, but can also involve employing posted workers under the conditions of their home country or migrants who are prepared to work for lower salaries.

MEPs warmed to the idea of a minimum wage pegged at 60% of the median income in a resolution on social dumping last year.

There is a trend towards a gradual merging of minimum wage levels in Europe. Recently there has been a return to more collaboration in determining minimum wages in a number of member states with the input of socials partners and expert committees. Yet, there is still a long way to go.

Although the Commission has restricted control over social policy, it is ready to confront social and economic injustices across the 28 nation bloc.

The executive will present its reform proposals in the coming weeks, before a summit in Rome on 25 March to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations of today’s European Union.


sluggish renewables investment poses challenge to eu energy plans


European investment in renewables has dropped by half since 2011, but the EU remains “well on track” to hit its 2020 target of boosting the sector by 20%, the European Commission said today (1 February) as it launched its second report on its Energy Union strategy.

The EU has promised to make itself the “world number one in renewables”. But while European investment dropped to €44 billion, global backing for renewables has increased to more than €260 billion.

In 2014, there was a 16% renewables share in the bloc final energy consumption and an estimated 16.4% share in 2015, in 2014 renewables generated 27.5% of the EU’s electricity, the European Commission said. This is expected to climb to 50% by 2030.

However, the EU accounts for just 18% of total global investment, a drop from almost 50% six years ago.  The Commission said new finance would have to be unlocked to reach the € 379 billion needed every year to reach the EU’s climate and energy targets.

It said that the expanded Juncker Plan could help raise more capital. The cost of renewables was dropping and becoming more competitive, said the executive. Solar modules prices dropped by 80% between the end of 2009 and end of 2015.

The State of the Energy Union report assesses Europe’s progress on the plan, which aims to reduce its dependence on imports and fight climate change.  Increasing efficiency and renewable will help reduce demand and global warming pollution. The Juncker Commission analysed progress made up to 2014.

The Commission vowed to put “energy efficiency first” in the flagship strategy.  Today the executive said it was optimistic that the EU would hit its 2020 efficiency goal but warned that it would require sustained effort from member states.

The EU has reduced its final energy consumption, which means use by households and businesses, to below the 2020 target. But primary energy consumption, which also includes generation sectors and distribution, loses remains below the 2020 goal.

Final energy consumption dropped by 11% from 2005 to 2014. In 2014, the bloc used 1063 million tonnes of oil equivalent, 2.2% below the 2020 target of 1086 Mtoe.

The EU’s total consumption in 2014 was 1507 Mtoe, 1.6% above the 1483 Mtoe goal for 2030. Primary energy consumption increased slightly from 2014-15 but dropped by 12% from 2005 to 2014.

Greenhouse gas emissions

The EU has binding 2020 targets of a 20% increase in renewables and efficiency above 1990 levels.  EU leaders agreed 2030 targets of at least 27% in October 2014, ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

In Paris, world leaders committed to cap global warming at no more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The success of the landmark deal, which entered into force in November, led the European Commission to increase the 2030 renewables target to 30% in draft legislation.  The revised 2030 targets are being scrutinised by MEPs and member states before becoming law.

Increased renewables and efficiency levels will contribute to the EU meeting its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  In 2015, renewables contributed to reducing emissions by 436 metric tons of CO2, the same as Italy’s emissions.

Over 2005 to 2015, lower levels of energy consumption helped to cut GHG emission by around 800 million tonnes of CO2 in 2014, almost equal to Germany’s emissions that year.

The bloc has already overshot its 2020 GHG goal of 20%, which has led some campaigners to criticise the target as too low. The EU has a 2030 GHG reduction target of at least 40% compared to 1990 levels.

Energy security

The Ukraine crisis exposed the EU’s dependence on Russian gas and gave impetus to the plan. The EU imports 53% of all the energy it consumes at a cost of more than 1 billion a day.

Last year renewables made a €16 billion saving on fossil fuel imports, which the Commission said would rise to 58 billion – the GDP of Luxembourg – in 2030.

Greater efficiency reduces import demand.  A 30% 2030 efficiency target would save €70 billion in fossil fuel import bill and cut gas imports by 12%, compared to a 27% target, according to Commission analysis.


Business Confidence Survey on the Chinese Market 2017

Source: the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. Updated: 13 September, 2017

The Business Confidence Survey 2017 (published on 31/05/2017) brings together the input of over 500 senior representatives of the European Chamber’s member companies to provide an annual overview of their performance and outlook from within the Chinese market.

Some of the key findings of the report include the following:

  • Revenues and earnings before interest and taxes improved, without any marked increase in optimism about the long-term business outlook.
  • The top regulatory barriers faced by European business remain the same, and there is a lack of confidence that this situation will improve over the next five years. 
  • European companies are positive about President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign and the incremental improvements to China’s IPR protection regime.
  • There is a disproportionate enforcement of environmental legislation against foreign-invested enterprises compared to state-owned enterprises and Chinese privately-owned enterprises.
  • European companies report increased competition from Chinese privately-owned companies as the latter's capacity for innovation increases.
  • The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment must be completed to give European business the confidence it needs to ramp up investment in China.

Please click here to view English press release and here for the full report.


Britain’s exit from the EU could slow down Europe’s economic growth. However, unemployment forecasts remain positive. The latest Eurostat figures show that the number of jobless has been steadily declining.

Towards the end of 2016, record employment levels were reported in Germany and the Czech Republic. Britain, contrary to expectations, is doing well, too. However, the situation is not uniform, across the bloc.

However, the situation is not uniform, across the bloc. Unemployment is still a major problem in the southern EU, though, where it rises into the double digits.

The European Union has faced one fundamental challenge after another over the last ten years. As soon as it overcame the financial crisis of 2007–2008, caused by a mortgage bubble in the US, there was the eurozone crisis of 2011–2013, due to high debt in Greece, Italy and other countries, followed by the refugee crisis of 2015–2016.

With the exception the refugee crisis, all of the last decade’s crises strongly affected the European Union’s economic growth, increasing unemployment.

New challenges

At the beginning of 2017, the EU is facing other economic challenges. Primarily it is the unpredictable policy of US President Donald Trump. Among other things, Trump wants to withdraw from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The economic consequences of Brexit will also certainly play a negative role.

Therefore, last November the European Commission estimated this year’s economic growth in the EU to only reach 1.5%, and the estimated figures are also very similar (two-tenths of a per cent higher) in 2018. Unemployment estimates, however, are positive.

“I consider the impact of the potential rejection of the TTIP by the US administration to be a significant risk factor,” says Czech economist Petr Zahradník. “Especially by thwarting developmental opportunities that could lead to the emergence of new jobs. Although the labour market in the EU has improved quite considerably over the last year, there are still many countries with high double-digit unemployment rates,” adds Zahradník.

According to the data released in January by Eurostat, these include primarily Greece (23.1%), Spain (19.2%), Cyprus (14.2%) and Italy (11.9%). The opposite end of the list features the United Kingdom (4.8%), Germany (4.1%) and the Czech Republic (3.7%), which currently has the lowest unemployment in the EU.

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Figures released on 26 January show that 678,000 Europeans went abroad to study, train, work or volunteer with Erasmus+ in 2015, more than ever before.

26 January 2017 also marks the launch of the From Erasmus to Erasmus+: A Story of 30 years campaign. This Europe-wide campaign of events and activities will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme, first launched in 1987 and now part of Erasmus+.

The figures are among the findings of the Erasmus+ Annual Report for 2015. Further highlights from the annual report include:

  • €2.1 billion invested in the Erasmus+programme in 2015
  • 19,600 projects funded with over 69,000 participating organisations


China weighs ban on vehicles using fossil fuels

Source: Updated: 12 September, 2017

With China announcing a plan to eventually end the production and sale of vehicles powered entirely by fossil fuels, domestic and foreign-owned automakers are expected to be even more aggressive in developing electric and alternative vehicles for the world's largest car market.

The Xinhua news agency on Sept 9 cited China's vice-minister of industry as saying that China is studying when to ban the production and sale of cars that use only traditional fuels. Xin Guobin didn't release a specific date when such a ban would occur, Xinhua reported.

In April, General Motors Co said it would launch 10 electric and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles in China by 2020. Last month, GM introduced the two-seat E100 comes from GM's Chinese joint-venture brand, Baojun, and costs around $5,300. It has a range of 96 miles per charge and a top speed of 62 mph.

China weighs ban on vehicles using fossil fuels

Ford Motor Company said last month that it was exploring a joint venture with electric car maker Anhui Zotye Automobile Co to build a new brand under which the electric vehicles will be sold. Both firms will hold a 50-50 stake in the JV, it said

Other auto producers like Tesla Inc, Volkswagen AG, Honda and Nissan Motor Co also have announced aggressive plans to make and sell electric vehicles in China.

Among domestic manufacturers, Warren Buffett-backed BYD led in sales in the first seven months of this year, delivering 46,855 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

"Chinese authorities are looking to fast track new energy vehicle (NEV) sales, but despite subsidies the growth in volume in the NEV segment amounts to just around 1.8 percent of the total vehicle market in China so far this year. The authorities are beginning to look for tougher and more stringent ways to strengthen the NEV segment," wrote Namrita Chow, principal automotive analyst of IHS Markit in an email.

Noting the lack of a specific timetable for the elimination of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, Chow said "at this point in time it is just rhetoric regarding the complete ban of (internal combustion engine) vehicles in China, there is no time line and no policy implying this is at all imminent."

Arthur Wheaton, an automotive expert with Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said that because the Chinese auto market is the largest in the world, all global auto companies will attempt to meet whatever policies are in place to continue in the market.

"The policy of outlawing all internal combustion engines for sale in China would be extremely challenging," he said in an email.

SAIC, BAIC, Geely, Changan are among the Chinese auto companies that could capitalize if the ban is implemented said Wheaton.

Those companies and others have significant partnerships with global manufacturers and their joint-ventures would be crucial to ramping up capacity to meet the needs, he added.

Wheaton doesn't anticipate a ban happening soon.

"I am pessimistic this policy will be implemented fully for decades. I think the phasing in of increasing (the) number of electric vehicles is more likely and the slower pace would help Chinese auto makers build expertise to meet the demand gradually with help from their joint-venture partners," said Wheaton.


eu is a desperate energy junkie

Energy can be a dirty business. But when you import more than half your supplies every year, sometimes you just have to get a deal done.

The European Union is addicted to energy imports. Its dependence was brutally exposed whenever Russia turned off the taps. These crises gave impetus to the bloc’sEnergy Union plan.

About 30% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia and the bloc imports 53% of its energy every year at a cost of more than €1 billion a day.

One major aim of the Energy Union strategy is to diversify energy suppliers in a bid to lessen the reliance on Russian gas and Middle Eastern oil.

This means making friends with governments every bit as authoritarian as that ruled by Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Libya, Iraq and Iran have been earmarkedas potential suppliers.

Energy and realpolitik go hand in hand. Many governments deal with Saudi Arabia, despite it regularly being branded the worst of the worst in surveys of political rights.

In April 2016, no fewer than eight Commissioners travelled to Iran in a visit to bolster energy ties, even though member states had extended sanctions against Tehran forhuman rights abuses.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels today.

The pow-wow was criticised by no fewer than 76 NGOs. They urged Juncker to use the visit to raise Baku’s recordon human rights. Azerbaijan defends itself robustlyfrom such accusations.

Asked today whether energy supplies or human rights would be prioritised in the Brussels-Baku partnership, the Commission saidboth were “important”.

Last week, it said that Juncker wasnot “terribly reserved”when talking to his partners, hinting the Luxembourger could take Aliyev to task.

Juncker even joked to the press, “I’m going to meet the president of Azerbaijan now so the pleasant part of theday is over.”

We may never know what happens behind closed doors. Perhaps wary of difficult questions, the Commission had no plans to hold a press conference with the two presidents.

European Council President Donald Tusk also met with Aliyev. He said they discussed human rights and the importance offreedom of expression. They also discussed the Southern Gas Corridor pipeline.

“Azerbaijan is important for Europe’s energy security and diversification of supplies,” Tusk said.

The EU is an energy junkie. It can only get clean through far greater energy efficiency and domestic renewables.

That is a long way off and policymakers have picked gas as their lower carbon “bridge fuel” to a greener future.

No strongman leader worth his salt will take high falutin’ human rights talk seriously. Not when it comes from an addict who needs his fix.


British Prime Minister Theresa May should insist that Brexit negotiations are heldin “neutral Switzerland”, rather than Brussels, according to Kate Hoey MP. She is a Brexit-supporting member of the opposition Labour party. The Commission managed (just) to keep a straight face and said it wouldinform Michel Barnier.

Nigel Farage is sharing a £4 million London flat with a French politician. His current wife confirmed they have been “living separate lives” for years.

The European Parliament has scolded the UK tabloid press for bad reporting on Brussels’ alleged demand that sports teams and venues display the Union flag. The Parliament pointed out that the EU has no say on sport policy and accused the papers of “scoring an own goal”.

Hawkish German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he doesn’t think the UK should be punished during the Brexit negotiations and suggested that the best way to deal with Donald Trump is to watch Angela Merkel and copy her “calm” approach.

A new report has warned that development aid is being siphoned offto house refugeesin the EU. The Commission today published a report on the implementation of environmental lawacross the bloc.

The pressure finally took its toll in Romania. The government withdrew a hugely controversial decree that drew a reported 200,000 people onto the streets of Bucharest. A new bill will be published soon.

Despite not thinking much of it, Donald Trump is going to meet with NATO leaders in May. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has told bitter rivals Kosovo and Serbia to “calm down”.

One Polish MP thinks that it is “just a matter of time” before Trump lifts sanctions against Russia, which will worsen relations between Warsaw and Moscow.

France’s presidential race heated up nicely over the weekend, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen both choosing Lyon to launch their campaigns.

Beleaguered Republican candidate François Fillon’s days as his party’s candidate might be over soon, but who would they replace him with?

Most French citizens (80%) told pollsters that they would vote for “a leader that is prepared to change the rules of the game”.


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