They are meant to give young people a taste of work, but traineeship are fast becoming a necessary, if poorly rewarded, precondition to launching their careers. Work placements are often abused as a form of cheap labour, with youngsters being given no training and little or no pay and sometimes being given simple, menial tasks like photocopying and making tea that do not make use of their skills and education. The European Parliament has now called for an end to this exploitation.
Setting a budget is a difficult exercise at the best of times. Even when money is plentiful, it is never unlimited, so tough choices have to be made. Now imagine 27 countries, all with their own of difficulties and preferences, having to decide about billions of euros for a seven-year period in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the great depression.