The European Parliament has told graduates from Northern Italy due to start internships from Monday at the institution that they cannot come until October following the regions coronavirus outbreak.
A email sent to trainees on Tuesday stated that anybody listing an address in one of four Italian regions — Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Veneto — on their application would not be permitted to come in the March intake.
“In your application to our traineeship programme you declared to have an address in one of the areas concerned and unfortunately, for this reason, the European Parliament is not in the measure to allow you to start you internship on 01/03,” read the email sent from Parliaments directorate-general for personnel, seen by POLITICO.
The Parliament confirmed that the decision, which also covers individuals from China, Singapore or South Korea, will affect 35 trainees.
It said the decision was “part of its duty of care and in line with the precautionary measures for staff” regarding the virus outbreak.
the European Commission and Parliament told staff who traveled to affected Italian areas to work from home for 14 days.
The Parliament offers the five-month traineeships to around 900 university graduates a year, with intakes in spring and fall. The email said those affected would be eligible for a contract in the next round, from October to February 2021.
“We are very disappointed, as we already planned our life in Brussels for the next five months,” said one trainee from Lombardy, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid any impact on her future placement. “Many of us declined job offers to do the traineeship.”
The trainee said she had received an apologetic phone call from her supervisor in Parliament, who guaranteed her offer would be valid from October. She hopes to find a job at home in the meantime, which wont be easy given the current situation in the region. “If you live in Lombardy,” she said, “the next month will be critical.”