I learned a lot!
Why did you choose a traineeship in the program at EDPS?
A teacher at my university told me about the possibility to become a trainee at the EDPS. As the work of the EDPS is both very much in the public interest and fascinating to me personally, I was very excited to apply. I believe that the way we handle challenges around privacy and data protection will be determining for our societies in the digital age.
What did you do during the traineeship?
My tasks included factual and legal research, policy work like analysing the amendments of the Council and the European Parliament to a legislative proposal of the European Commission, summarizing case law in the realm of data protection, attending external events and reporting back, as well as drafting reports.
What was the most interesting and the hardest task for you?
The most interesting tasks were participating in subgroup meetings of the G29 working party of European data protection authorities as well as in the plenary meeting of the G29 working party, where the implications of the forthcoming GDPR were among the topics that were being discussed. I prepared a presentation for a subgroup meeting and reported back from other subgroup meetings and the plenary.
The hardest task was treating a case that was definitely within the realm of interest of the institution, but hard to locate within the scope of its mandate. The solution was discussing with the colleagues how to go about it.
What did you learn at EDPS?
A lot! Most importantly, I learned how the institution is cooperating with other data protection authorities across Europe, about the nature of the multiple relations that it entertains with the European Commission and other institutions and, more generally, how working in a public administration is different from working in the private sector. Of course, I learned about substance matters, too, like the application of data protection law in pratice, the legislative processes around the GDPR or about the data protection aspects of PNR-Agreements (Passenger Name Records) that the EU concluded with several countries.
Does every trainee have a tutor in the department where they is beeing trained?
I think so, yes.
How did you spend your time outside of work?
I mostly went to explore the different neighbourhoods of Brussels with my roommate, who was a trainee at the European Parliament during that time. I also went to Gent and Antwerp in the weekends.
Did the traineeship help you to find a job you were interested in?
I was already in contact with my current employer before the EDPS traineeship, but the experience at the EDPS and the knowledge I had the chance to build up are very valuable in my job, even now, more than two years after completing the traineeship.
What would you say to people who would like to apply for a traineeship at EDPS?
I would encourage them to do so – especially with the GDPR coming into force in May 2018. Being a part of the process and gaining first hand impressions of how the institutions prepare for this must be very exciting. I do not have any special recommendations for the application process.
Interview by Agnieszka Góralczyk