To this end, the European Commission supports two projects led by the Italian and French Public Employment Services, which will offer a solidarity-related job or traineeship in another EU country to up to 6000 young people.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "The European Solidarity Corps is about creating more and better opportunities. I am happy that starting from today, with the kicking off of the occupational strand, the Corps is offering its full potential to our young people. In cooperation with Public Employment Services and partners on the ground, we will offer thousands of young people a concrete opportunity for a job or traineeship in solidarity-related fields across Europe. This will allow them to develop their skills and increase their future labour market prospects."
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "I am delighted to see the European Solidarity Corps growing. The occupational dimension now makes it complete. We know that many young people in Europe are eager to help others, and that this engagement will have positive knock-on effects for themselves. Participating in the European Solidarity Corps will prove to be a valuable experience for young Europeans at the start of their careers."
The two projects led by the French Public Employment Service (Pôle Emploi) and the Italian National Agency for active labour policies (ANPAL) bring together public employment services and organisations from different EU Member States, such as employers' organisations and training institutes, to provide job or traineeship offers in solidarity-related areas to young people between the age of 18 and 30. Selected participants will be able to engage in a broad range of activities such as healthcare, social integration, environmental protection, assistance for migrants and refugees, or food aid in another EU country. The projects will reach out to employers, ensure the matching of candidates and provide financial and other types of support, such as training, to participants. The projects are funded with more than €14 million from the Employment and Social Innovation programme.
Timeline and next steps
The two projects will run up to March 2019.
In parallel, the European Solidarity Corps is being further developed and consolidated. The aim is to provide 100,000 placements by the end of 2020.
The experience gained under the two new projects being launched will help lay the ground for the rolling-out of the European Solidarity Corps by 2020. The two projects will continue to support young people in finding cross-border placements until spring 2019 and will work together with other projects on occupational placements for the European Solidarity Corps.
During his 2016 State of the Union address, Commission President Juncker announced the creation of a European Solidarity Corps, offering young people between the age of 18 and 30 the opportunity to take part in a wide range of solidarity activities across the EU.
Since its launch on 7 December 2016, more than 32,000 young people have joined the European Solidarity Corps. In March 2017, matching with organisations began; since then, about 11,500 participants have been contacted and 460 placements were accepted. The aim is to have 100,000 young people taking part in the European Solidarity Corps by the end of 2020.
On 30 May 2017 the Commission presented a proposal to put the European Solidarity Corps on a firm footing, with a budget of €341.5 million for the years 2018-2020 and a dedicated legal base. In addition, the Commission proposed to extend opportunities for young people. As well as offering volunteering, traineeships and job placements, in the future the European Solidarity Corps will also offer participants the opportunity to set up their own solidarity projects or to volunteer as a group.
To prepare its proposal, the Commission launched both an open online survey and targeted consultations with stakeholders, which concluded in a Stakeholder Forum. The proposal for a draft Regulation now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before it can enter into force. In their Joint Declaration, the EU institutions committed to delivering on the proposal by the end of this year.