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newsThe Commission steps up action for high quality and inclusive youth volunteering

As one of the first concrete initiatives under the 2022 European Year of Youth, the Commission published today its proposal for a Council Recommendation on youth volunteering to facilitate transnational youth volunteering under the European Solidarity Corps or other schemes at national level.

Recognising the key contribution of volunteering for the development of young people's skills and competences and its role in positively overcoming societal challenges, the proposed Recommendation aims to boost the inclusiveness, quality, recognition and sustainability dimensions of transnational youth volunteering. Addressing the remaining impairments to volunteering mobility, the proposal tackles lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the implementation of the European Solidarity Corps, which will celebrate its 5th anniversary in 2022.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas said: “Since 2017, tens of thousands of young Europeans have made a difference by taking part in volunteering and solidarity projects of the European Solidarity Corps. With today's recommendation, we are supporting and facilitating further volunteering for young people, so that many more of them can spread solidarity and hope throughout Europe and beyond."

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel said: "Volunteering is increasingly popular among young people willing to engage in building a better, and more inclusive Europe. This new initiative aims at improving the quality of their volunteering and remove remaining obstacles to cross-border mobility. It will contribute to reinforcing solidarity opportunities for young people during the European Year of Youth 2022.”

The Commission's proposal on youth volunteering invites Member States, among others, to:

  • Ensure that access to transnational volunteering activities is a realistic opportunity for all young people, including those with fewer opportunities;
  • Consider measures contributing to the development of an adequate and clear legislative and implementation framework for the health, safety and security of participants in transnational volunteering activities;
  • Promote high level of quality with national organisers of volunteering activities;
  • Provide information and raise awareness about volunteers' rights;
  • Increase awareness on the benefits of transnational volunteering activities, through information, guidance and outreach activities;
  • Promote the cooperation at national and EU level between organisers providing transnational volunteering opportunities;
  • Support volunteering activities that make a meaningful contribution to tackling climate and environment-related challenges;
  • Explore new trends and alternative dimensions and formats of volunteering, such as digital and inter-generational volunteering.

The Commission stands ready to support the implementation of the Recommendation through the cooperation mechanisms and tools of the EU Youth Strategy and the EU youth programmes, such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. The Commission will facilitate mutual learning and exchanges among Member States and relevant partners, by developing best practices in digital and inter-generational volunteering and by promoting and informing about volunteering opportunities through the European Youth Portal. It will also further develop and promote the existing EU validation tools for learning outcomes of non-formal and informal learning (EuropassYouthpass) and support research and data collection on the long-term impact of volunteering.

Next Steps

The Commission calls on Member States to swiftly adopt today's proposal on international youth volunteering and solidarity actions. It commits to report on the use of the Recommendation in the context of the work on the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy and of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond.

Background

The Commission's proposal builds upon several prior works on the topics, including a study, an expert group report, and an evaluation. The proposal was preceded by a public consultation and a Commission roadmap. It will replace the 2008 Council recommendation on mobility of young volunteers to take into accounts all developments since 2008.

Volunteering is an important activity for Europe's youth: 34% of youth stated in 2019 that they had engaged in organised volunteering activities within the past 12 months. This figure has been continuously increasing, from 24% in 2011.

Young EU citizens can take part in transnational volunteering through the European Solidarity Corps programme, or as part of national or regional schemes supporting cross-border volunteering activities (in place in Italy, Greece, Sweden, Austria, Slovenia, France, Slovak Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Malta and Spain). The total budget of the European Solidarity Corps programme for 2021-2027 is €1 billion with over €138 million available in 2022.

For More Information

Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on youth volunteering

The European Youth Portal

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