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IP/09/1836

Brussels, 27 November 2009

Commission welcomes Council's decision to designate 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering

Today, the EU Council decided that 2011 will be designated the "European Year of Volunteering". The organisation of the Year had been proposed by the European Commission and received a positive opinion by the European Parliament.

Welcoming the Council's decision, Mr Maroš Šefčovič, the Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, said: ''Volunteering is a way for individuals to make a valuable contribution to society. At the EU level, volunteering promotes civic participation, social cohesion and provides learning opportunities for the volunteers as well as a multitude of benefits for society at large. I am pleased that our idea to have a European Year dedicated to promoting volunteering activities received such solid support from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers."

The European Commission has been committed to promoting volunteering for a long time. A milestone was achieved with the establishment of the European Voluntary Service in 1996 as part of the Youth in Action Programme. The "European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship"—to give it its formal title—in 2011 will be the next step in the Commission's efforts to foster volunteering in Europe and to help civil society, local and regional communities and Member States to achieve the following objectives:

  • Work towards an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering in the EU;

  • Empower volunteer organisations and improve the quality of volunteering;

  • Reward and recognise achievements gained in volunteering activities; and

  • Raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering.

The European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship is widely supported by civil society and the European Parliament and is envisaged as a bottom-up campaign, in which civil society will play a large role.

The European Parliament has approved EU funding for the Year, as follows:  3 million for preparatory actions in 2010, and  8 million during the Year itself.

To know more:

European Commission Press Release ( IP/09/862, 03 June 2009): 2011 to be the European Year of Volunteering


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