Hello from Brussels!

Many young people miss their nice study time (or should I say freedom?!) and therefore find a job initially unattractive. Sure, you can’t spend your time completely free anymore, but Brussels is the place to be, when it comes to a perfect work-life balance. And by the way….you earn your own money and can finally afford everything! But more about that later.

Since I had already completed internships in the German and the EU Parliament a few years ago, I felt that I had already acquired a lot of basic skills, such as how the legislative process works and which institutions work together in which way. I notice that the basics help me to understand them, but my current internship at Lufthansa Group (LHG) gives me a much deeper insight into aviation issues. This is a big step forward compared to my parliamentary traineeships.

At any rate, I personally enjoy doing an internship in the field of EU corporate policy at LHG in Brussels and gain a lot of new experience. This gives me an insight into the legislative processes on the entrepreneurial side. Our EU Liaison office is the interface between LHG on one hand and the institutions of the European Union (Parliament, Commission, Council of the EU) on the other. We represent the interests of the Lufthansa Group and its group companies and communicate these to the EU institutions and other relevant players in Brussels. Group companies – in other words, we do not only represent the interests of LHG-airlines, but also those of Lufthansa Cargo, LSG Group, Lufthansa Technik and everything else that falls under the LHG-umbrella. In order to strengthen our arguments and positions, we also work closely with other interest groups in various German and European associations. As one of the founding members, the Lufthansa Group is very active within A4E (Airlines for Europe). It is the largest airline association representing European air carriers.

My personal highlight so far has been a CEO summit organized by A4E on March 6, only two weeks after I started my internship. The picture shows the final CEO debate with Johan Lundgren (easyJet), Willie Walsh (IAG), Carsten Spohr (LHG), Pieter Elbers (KLM) & Michael O'Leary (Ryanair). Impressive experience!

My personal highlight so far has been a CEO summit organized by A4E on March 6, only two weeks after I started my internship. The picture shows the final CEO debate with Johan Lundgren (easyJet), Willie Walsh (IAG), Carsten Spohr (LHG), Pieter Elbers (KLM) & Michael O’Leary (Ryanair). Impressive experience!

Our office is located in the heart of the EU institutions. The team consists of the Head of the Office, a Manager EU Affairs and an intern (me) who changes every six months. When I heard that “only” three people work here for such a large company as Lufthansa, I was surprised. But after almost two months of my internship I can see being a real addition to the team! It is very advantageous for me as an intern. The constellation enables me to perform many tasks and gain insights into various topics.

Speaking of topics. We keep track of issues ranging from airspace regulation to fair competition, passengers’ rights, social issues, environment, data protection, border controls, and many more. At the moment, there are two issues that are right at the top of our agenda. The first is Brexit. We are monitoring everything very closely and following the debates surrounding the UK’s withdrawal. Last week the EU and UK have agreed a further delay to Brexit until October 31. UK could leave earlier if the Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified by the UK parliament. That brings us to the second topic, which is of great interest to us at the moment – the European elections. What will the new Parliament or the new Commission look like? What are the aviation issues that should be taken forward in the new legislature? I regularly take part in the meetings and procedures of the European Parliament, especially within the Transport Committee (TRAN). One of my tasks as intern is to monitor everything that is important to us and pass it on to the appropriate departments and colleagues inside LHG.

TRAN-Committee: Exchange of views with Commissioner Violeta Bulc on policy achievements and future prospects for transport

TRAN-Committee: Exchange of views with Commissioner Violeta Bulc on policy achievements and future prospects for transport

I’m coming back to my heading. There is no better place to combine job and leisure time than Brussels. The city is hard to beat from a cultural and social point of view; every weekend, various events take place and there is always something on offer. These include exhibitions, city festivals, street food markets and city walks. In general, the cityscape is full of contrasts and therefore so charming. Besides, I can make professional contacts especially at many international events to which I am invited by the LHG. Many institutions, embassies, companies and representatives based in Brussels regularly invite to networking events and lectures on current topics. There you can get into conversation in a relaxed atmosphere and expand your network. Or you can get to know many other interns there. The weekly after-work drink at Plux (Place Luxembourg) in front of the Parliament is not only a suitable place for many interns to meet other people and exchange ideas. Brussels is the city when it comes to internationality. For example, I live in a shared house with eight other nationalities, including the Netherlands, France, Colombia, Spain, Great Britain and Greece. Although my internship in the Parliament was two years ago, I always meet old colleagues and friends whom I met during my time in Brussels. So networking is worth it!

A quiet Place du Luxembourg (Plux) during the day with the European Parliament in the background

A quiet Place du Luxembourg (Plux) during the day with the European Parliament in the background

In a few weeks I will give you another update. So be curious, perhaps we will know more about the Brexit and the European elections! If my report has given you a taste of an internship at LHG, have a look at the Be-Lufthansa page, where the position of my successor is still open until the end of May.

Take care and see you soon, Carl-Elimar