One year since the European Commission launched the European Solidarity Corps, 42,745 young people from all Member States have signed up. 2,166 of them have started their placements with 1,434 organisations.
Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Günther H. Oettinger, said: "Young people will work on key projects, make life-long friendships and do something good for our society under the quality label of the European Solidarity Corps."
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics said: "I am delighted that so many young people around Europe believe in solidarity and are committed to volunteering, training or working to support others. One year after the launch of the European Solidarity Corps, many of them are already making a difference, bringing relief and hope to those who need it. We now need to see a swift adoption of the dedicated legal base and budget for the coming years to make the potential benefits of the European Solidarity Corps a reality."
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, added: "Participating in the European Solidarity Corps is not only a great way to show solidarity, it also allow young people to develop new skills and brings an added value to one's CV. I hope our proposal for a stronger Solidarity Corps will be adopted soon so that we can increase opportunities for our European youth even more."
Since the launch, European Solidarity Corps participants have been active all over Europe. In August 2017, for instance, a group of European Solidarity Corps volunteers arrived in Norcia, Italy, to help with the ongoing efforts to repair damage and rebuild social services for the local community affected by the severe earthquakes that had hit the region a year earlier. In total, 230 European Solidarity Corps members will support Italian communities affected by the earthquakes until 2020. Other Solidarity Corps participants work, for instance, with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or with special needs, with refugees or the elderly, from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Aveiro in Portugal, and many more places in Europe.
The Commission's proposal to reinforce the European Solidarity Corps by giving it its own budget and legal base, and to broaden its activities, is currently being discussed in the Council and the European Parliament. In the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, Member States reached an informal agreement amongst themselves on 20 November 2017 which paves the way for a final agreement with the European Parliament.
During his 2016 State of the Union address, Commission President Juncker announced the creation of a European Solidarity Corps, offering young people between the ages of 18 and 30 the opportunity to take part in a wide range of solidarity activities across the EU.
Two months later, the European Solidarity Corps was launched with the aim of having 100,000 young people taking part by the end of 2020.
In this first phase of the European Solidarity Corps, eight different programmes have been mobilised to give young people the chance to take part in a range of solidarity activities addressing challenging situations across the EU. Participation not only benefits young people's personal development, active involvement in society and employability, but also assists non-governmental organisations, public bodies and companies in their efforts to cope with societal and other challenges.
Following the matching of volunteers with organisations which started in March 2017, the professional strand of the European Solidarity Corps kicked off in July with two projects led by the Italian and French Public Employment Services and supported by the European Commission. These projects are offering solidarity-related jobs or traineeships in another EU country to up to 6,000 young people.
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 would also offer participants the opportunity to set up their own solidarity projects or to volunteer as a group.
In Gothenburg (Sweden) on 17 November, President Juncker invited EU leaders, during their Working Lunch on education and culture, to reach a target of 1.5 million young people participating in the European Solidarity Corps by 2025, which would require a budget of €6 billion for the period 2021-2027.
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