Thousands of young Europeans engage every year in volunteering activities, and the Socialists and Democrats want to extend this cross-border solidarity experience to many more. This is why today in the committee on culture and education we voted on the budget and new priorities of the European Solidarity Corps programme for the 2021-2027 period.
The S&D Group has been calling for a more robust budget and better advertising, so that at least 350,000 young Europeans will have the chance to enjoy non-formal and informal learning opportunities through volunteering, traineeship or job activities in solidarity and non-profit related areas, including humanitarian aid.
S&D spokesperson on culture and education, Silvia Costa MEP, who is also the S&D negotiator of this file, said:
“The European Solidarity Corps is much more than just any voluntary service. Its cross-border added value makes it a valuable school to develop our common identity and sense of European citizenship. So many young Europeans want to be engaged at the grass-root level! We should make it easier for them – and especially for those with fewer opportunities - to take part in projects of solidarity and active citizenship that are aimed at tackling community needs in all fields, from social activities to culture and environment.
“These experiences will also benefit participants, through the acquisition of soft skills and professional experience.
“In this new phase on which we voted today, we are widening the scope of the European Solidarity Corps, integrating the existing EU Aid Volunteers Programme, offering young volunteers the opportunity to participate in humanitarian projects inside and outside the Union.
“In order to make it a successful experience for all, it is necessary to recognise and financially support non-profit associations and service centres so that they can provide the necessary conditions for a quality volunteering experience: organisation, mentoring, training and international partnerships.”