Mobility of young volunteers
With this recommendation, the Council encourages Member States to promote the cross-border mobility of young volunteers. It provides a framework for intensifying Member States’ cooperation, on the basis of which new opportunities for mobility may be created.
Council Recommendation of 20 November 2008 on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].
This recommendation establishes a framework of cooperation for Member States, based on which the cross-border mobility of young volunteers may be strengthened. It does so with due respect to the diversity of the national volunteering schemes.
The Council has defined cross-border voluntary activities as: “open to all young people, undertaken by their own free will in the general interest, for a sustained period, within a clear framework and in a country other than the country of residence, unpaid or with token payment and/or coverage of expenses”. Voluntary activities provide a non-formal educational and informal learning experience through which young people may develop their professional and social skills and competences. Thereby, these activities enhance their employability and active citizenship, while benefiting local communities and fostering social cohesion.
With this recommendation, the Council is encouraging Member States to strengthen cooperation among voluntary organisations and public authorities involved in organising voluntary activities, in order to promote the mobility of young volunteers within Europe. To this end, Member States should take action to:
- promote the dissemination of information on national voluntary activities;
- facilitate stakeholders’ access to information regarding cross-border voluntary activities and provide information on rights and opportunities thereof;
- facilitate young volunteers’ access to cross-border voluntary activities, in particular by simplifying the procedures;
- develop opportunities for cross-border voluntary activities through a flexible approach, taking into consideration such issues as hosting capacities, establishment of contacts among volunteers, use of European mobility mechanisms, mobility of youth workers and training of those active in youth work;
- promote the development of intercultural competences and the learning of languages as means to facilitate cross-border mobility;
- support the development of self-assessment tools with which voluntary organisations may guarantee the quality of their cross-border activities;
- exchange information and cooperate with each other in order to assure the social and legal protection of volunteers;
- promote the recognition of volunteers’ learning outcomes through the use of national and European level qualification instruments;
- promote the participation of young people with fewer opportunities in cross-border voluntary activities.
The Commission is committed to support Member States’ actions relating to the above. It will do this through the EU cooperation framework in the youth field, the open method of coordination as well as the European Voluntary Service (EVS), as contained in the youth in action programme. The Commission will develop opportunities for voluntary organisations to exchange information and experience on cross-border cooperation. In addition, it will establish a European Youth Volunteer Portal to disseminate information to all stakeholders.
The common objectives for young people’s voluntary activities and their implementation at national level were identified in the Resolution of 15 November 2004 on common objectives for voluntary activities of young people and in its implementing resolution of 16 November 2007. These also requested that Member States develop means to measures progress in practice. The 2007 resolution further requested the Commission to propose additional ways to promote and recognise young people’s voluntary activities.
For further information, please visit the European Commission Directorate-General Education and Culture website on volunteering.