Frequently Asked Questions
What is the European Solidarity Corps?
The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects that benefit communities and people around Europe.
It was announced by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his annual State of the European Union speech in September 2016, and officially launched in December 2016. More information
After completing a simple registration process, participants could be selected join a wide range of projects. These projects will be run by organisations which have been checked and authorised to run European Solidarity Corps projects.
How does the European Solidarity Corps work?
The European Solidarity Corps is the pool of young people who register their interest to take part in solidarity-related projects, and who agree with and will uphold the Mission and Principles of the European Solidarity Corps.
When you register, your details will be held in the European Solidarity Corps system, and organisations will be able to search the database for people for their projects. Organisations will then ask selected participants to join these projects.
The European Commission will invite organisations to apply for funding or other support for projects which fit with the Mission and Principles of the European Solidarity Corps. After their projects are approved, these organisations will be able to access the pool of participants to select young people that could be best suited to join the project. The organisations will then contact the potential recruits and make a final choice.
All organisations will undergo checks before they are authorised to run projects for the European Solidarity Corps, and before they are allowed to search for and recruit participants for their projects.
Depending on the type of project, and your existing knowledge and experience, you may receive training from the European Solidarity Corps before starting the project.
Who can join the European Solidarity Corps?
You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but you cannot start a project until you are over 18. You must also complete the European Solidarity Corps project before you turn 31.
Also you must be legally resident in or have the nationality of one of the European Union Member States, or of the following countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Whilst you can join the European Solidarity Corps if you meet these criteria, some projects may have additional restrictions on ages, legal residency or nationality, depending on the type of project and how it is funded.
What could I be asked to do in a European Solidarity Corps project?
European Solidarity Corps projects will cover a wide variety of topics but all will be within the Mission of the European Solidarity Corps, and meet its Principles.
Examples of what you could be asked to do include:
- Helping rebuild a school or community centre that has been devastated following an earthquake
- Providing support to newly arrived asylum seekers
- Clearing vegetation from forests to help prevent wildfires
- Working with disabled people in a community centre.
You will not be asked to provide any services related to the immediate response to disasters. These types of tasks will continue to be performed by those with the specialist training and experience to operate safely in these dangerous environments.
For more information, have a look at the list of the project types.
What am I committing to if I join the European Solidarity Corps?
When you join the European Solidarity Corps, you will be asked to confirm that you agree with and will uphold the Mission and Principles of the European Solidarity Corps. Your details will then be stored in the European Solidarity Corps system.
As part of the registration process you will be asked for your basic personal information, the type of projects you would be interested in, and the experience and knowledge you can bring to European Solidarity Corps projects. After this, you will be asked to complete a more detailed profile, including when you might be available to take part in projects. You can update all of this information at any time by logging into your personal European Solidarity Corps account.
Organisations which have been authorised by the European Commission to run European Solidarity Corps projects will have access to your data when they search for potential volunteers or workers for their projects. If an organisation does contact you and offers you a position on their project, you do not have to agree to take up their offer – the decision on whether or not to join a project is always completely up to you.
If you decide that you do not want to be considered for European Solidary Corps projects, you can at any time login to your personal account and either temporarily hide your profile from organisations or delete your account completely. You can also choose to stop receiving emails and other communications.
What is the difference between the Volunteering and Occupational parts of the European Solidarity Corps?
The European Solidarity Corps brings together two complementary strands: volunteering and occupational activities. The volunteering strand offers young people the opportunity to carry out full-time voluntary service of between two and twelve months in another country. It builds on the European voluntary Service (which part of ERASMUS+) as well as other EU funding programmes.
The occupational strand will provide young people with the opportunity of a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in a wide range of sectors which are engaged in solidarity-related activities, and which need highly motivated and socially-minded young people. The occupational strand will be set up gradually through partnerships with public bodies, NGOs and commercial organisations active in these fields.
Different projects require people with different skills and experience, so organisations have the option to recruit European Solidarity Corps participants as volunteers, workers, apprentices or trainees.
Volunteers will not receive payment for the work they do, but they will receive other support depending on the EU programme funding the placement, such as generally return travel to and from the project, accommodation, meals, medical insurance and a small amount of spending money to cover their day-to-day living expenses.
Young people engaged through the Occupational part of the European Solidarity Corps for a job will have an employment contract and will be paid for the job they do in accordance with the respective national wage laws and collective agreements that are in force. They would normally be expected to cover their own day-to-day living expenses and accommodation from the payment they receive from their employer. They will be subject to the labour laws of the country in which they are working. You can get information about being employed in different EU countries from the Your Europe website.
Those engaged as apprentices or trainees will also have an employment contract, and normally a subsistence allowance is paid.
What happens after I register?
The European Solidarity Corps is a new initiative, and organisations are still in the process of developing their ideas and proposals for projects. It is expected that organisations will begin recruiting participants from late spring 2017 onwards, and that participants will start to join projects from June 2017 onwards.
The European Commission will, in the meantime, keep you up-to-date with what is happening in the European Solidarity Corps through email and social media.
What types of organisations can run European Solidarity Corps projects?
The European Solidarity Corps is open to a wide range of organisations to run projects. These include governmental organisations, municipalities, non-governmental organisations and companies. These could also be of all sizes, from big multinational companies to a small NGO working in a local community. These organisations must run solidarity related projects.
How can an organisation apply to run a European Solidarity Corps project?
Throughout the year, the European Commission will announce that it is seeking project proposals for different types of European Solidarity Corps projects. These projects must be in line with the Mission and Principles of the Corps.
All organisations will undergo checks to become accredited to run projects for the European Solidarity Corps, and before they are allowed to search for and recruit participants for their projects. Organisations must also adhere to the Charter of the European Solidarity Corps.
Announcements about the European Solidarity Corps will be made on the relevant European Commission social media accounts and in specialist publications.
How can I get more information about the European Solidarity Corps?
Please carefully read all of the information provided on this website. If you still have questions, please contact us through the "Ask a question" feature. We aim to give you an answer within five working days.