The meeting is traditionally organized through the initiative of the Commissioner and her office and takes place at the European Commission's best-known building in Brussels - the Berlaymont. The group of 25 trainees from Brussels and Luxembourg got together in the Berlaymont to experience this unique opportunity to have an insightful discussion at the table with the European Commissioner of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection directorate general (ECHO).
The meeting began with some group photos being taken. Then Commissioner Georgieva presented her recent work and her involvement in the new Emergency Response Centre. The Commissioner shared with the trainees that in every one of these traditional meetings with stagiaires, she learns something new and innovative.
After her thoughts and speech, the floor was opened to the other meeting participants. She was also interested to know about the thoughts of trainees towards their temporary positions and their involvement in the work of the different institutional bodies in the European Union (EU). In response to this, every participant explained their educational and professional backgrounds. A wide range of European Commission DGs were represented, as well as trainees from the European Parliament and the EU agencies – REGIO, DEVCO, ECOFIN / Finance, IPOL, OLAF, EPO etc. The educational backgrounds also varied widely, ranging from Psychology, Informatics, through to traditional European studies and Economics. Commissioner Georgieva welcomed all questions on various EU-related issues, answered them all, and shared stories of her experience. She also explained that the hardest moment in her professional career as the ECHO Commissioner was the emergence of the Syria crisis.
At the end, Commissioner Georgieva drew the meeting to a close with one very wise and useful quote: “Do the job you already have as the one you would like to have”.
Each year in the spring, Commissioner Georgieva also welcomes all the ECHO trainees from various countries to her Brussels’ office. Kristalina Georgieva set up the good practice to meet with Bulgarian and ECHO trainees throughout her tenure as commissioner. Two good initiatives for EU trainees, which could be encouraged more widely.
Emilia Chehtova is a trainee in the Secretariat at the European Parliament DG Finance. Of Bulgarian origin, and enthusiastically working in the Parliament on her favourite topic – European finances and economy, she enjoys promoting awareness of all things Bulgarian in Brussels and has a good eye for scouting out interesting events.