The European Commission today announced that sixty trainees have gone missing en route to Strasbourg.

Every year the Commission employs 1200 young graduates (stagiaires) on six month contracts to experience life in the slow lanes of power. One of the perks is a trip to Strasbourg, where they can contemplate suicide at the European Court of Human Rights and the French seat of the European Parliament.

Stagiaires are well known in Brussels for their ill-fitting suits, inflated sense of self-importance and hovel-like abodes. They can often be found in the corners of cheap bars sipping shared Coca-Colas through straws.

On Friday morning sixty trainees met at Brussels South train station. The train left at 10.43 and arrived at Strasbourg a couple of hours later. Not one stagiaire was on board.

Despite a manhunt that spread several hundred square metres and lasted many minutes, police have found no trace and are urging those with information to phone the Commission's service line between the hours of 10.30 and 11.15 Tuesdays and Thursdays.

One Commission spokesman said "it's no great loss". He added that on a monthly salary of 900 euros "they probably haven't got very far, and will be back when they get hungry."


  1. MKWM // 1:55 AM  

    I know where they are. I'll call the Commission... next Tuesday. On second thought, I should be very busy between 10.30 and 11.15 so I'm afraid it will have to wait until Thursday then.

    After all, it's definitely not a great loss and they won't be missed that much. Besides, there should be a new arrival next month...

  2. Daniel // 2:23 AM  

    Call the daddies cause the babies have gone missing ... Probably they should drink less and work more!
    Trainee Spring 1997

  3. MKWM // 9:47 AM  

    On the contrary, I think they should drink more and work even less.

  4. quarsan // 8:24 AM  

    What is the collective noun for stagieres?

    A twittering of interns? A confusion of stagieres?

  5. zoe // 8:29 AM  

    is anyone actually missing them ?

  6. Tippler // 1:48 PM  

    Dunno, Q.

    But someone once told me it's a 'trample of archaeologists'.

    I rather like that.

  7. MKWM // 9:26 AM  

    To whom it may concern:

    I have the pleasure to inform you that the bunch of stagiaires are now back in Brussels safe and sound.

    "Our escapade to €urodisney was a terrific experience", they said unanimously, adding that they are deeply sorry for the trouble & worry they caused...

  8. quarsan // 10:42 AM  

    mkwm: but did they know they were at eurodisney and not strasbourg?

  9. MKWM // 11:50 AM  

    Mmmm, very good question indeed.

    Their traineeship report won't be ready before March or so (please consider it has to be translated into several languages and that kind of document has the last priority level).

    I guess I'd better ask them directly then. They must be wandering everywhere in the building or have gone to lunch already but I'll find them eventually. Hold on a mo'...

  10. MKWM // 12:57 PM  

    I found them at last, but wait to hear what they’ve been up to lately, as if the trouble they caused last week wasn’t enough...

    These brats locked the security guards in the sauna (the girls deviously attracted them one by one in the basement) and took control of the monitoring room. They claim to have “interesting” recordings of a meeting on the 13th floor and threaten to call a press conference...

    As for their previous mischief, they had a fully logical explanation. They asked for a train ticket to the “Mickey Mouse Parliament” and received a ticket to Marne-la-Vallée. This is why they never arrived to Strasbourg where they were expected.

    Now we can’t really blame them, can we?

  11. Anonymous // 11:11 AM  

    "Stagiaires are well known in Brussels for their ill-fitting suits, inflated sense of self-importance and hovel-like abodes."
    Well yeah, why not. But Commission and Parliament permanent workers are also well known to take 2 hours long lunch breaks, 30 minutes coffee breaks every hours and quit the office at 5:30pm in order to go to the most expensive restaurant and pay the bill with the money of the taxpayers. So you know, if there is one thing a stagiaire learned, it's that they would never the F*** apply to a real position in such a bureaucratic mess. Thanks god, stagiaires are smarter than that. :)

  12. Anonymous // 2:52 PM  

    Somebody seems to be quite frustrated about not having got in the Commission as a Stagiare, he?? Well, bad luck...but no reason to freak out my dear...

  13. Anonymous // 12:32 PM  

    well actually I had the stagiaire experience and thanks god it pushed me to run toward a good a private company! you know, the one starting with JP...?
    Yeah, it's always better to run away from what French would call the "gauche caviar" and the "planqués" of the commission ;)

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