European Solidarity Corps launched and nature protection debated

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC) i, gepubliceerd op woensdag 7 december 2016.

The new European Solidarity Corps enables young people to make a meaningful contribution to society and acquire valuable skills. The Commission also discussed the need for an improved and smarter implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives.

European Solidarity Corps

The European Commission delivers on its commitment to invest in Europe's youth.

Just two months after President Juncker announced it in his State of the Union address the European Commission is today launching the European Solidarity Corps. It is an important element of the positive agenda that the Commission is implementing to empower, protect and defend citizens.

As of today, young people can sign up for new opportunities to make an important contribution to society across the EU, and to gain invaluable experience and acquire valuable skills at the start of their career.

With the new European Solidarity Corps, participants will have the opportunity to be placed with a project either for volunteering or for a traineeship, an apprenticeship or a job for a period between 2 and 12 months.

Participants will be able to engage in a broad range of activities such as education, health, social integration, assistance in the provision of food, shelter construction, reception, support and integration of migrants and refugees, environmental protection or prevention of natural disasters.

Registration is easy and can be done on a dedicated webpage on:

Boosting youth employment and mobility of apprenticeships

The Commission also presented today a series of measures to boost youth employment, improve and modernise education, more investment in skills of young people, and better opportunities to learn and study abroad.

To ensure a full and sustainable implementation of the EU Youth Guarantee launched three years ago and to roll it out in the regions which need it most, the Commission recently proposed to add an extra extra €2 billion to continue rolling out the Youth Guarantee across Europe and support an additional1 million young people by 2020. There are now 1.6 million less young unemployed in the EU since 2013 and 900,000 less young people not in employment, education or training. These trends suggest that the Youth Guarantee, backed up by the Youth Employment Initiative, has helped make a difference on the ground. Around 9 million young people took up an offer, the majority of which were offers of employment.

More young people, from all layers of society, should profit from opportunities the EU offers. That's why the Commission decided today to launch "ErasmusPro", a new dedicated activity within the Erasmus+ programme to support long-duration placements of apprentices abroad. The Commission will also propose a Quality Framework for Apprenticeships setting out key principles for the design and delivery of apprenticeships at all levels.

Ensuring high-quality education

As part of today's measures, the Commission is presenting a series of actions to help Member States provide high quality education for all young people, so they acquire the knowledge and skills to participate fully in society and to respond to new opportunities and challenges opened up by globalisation and technological change.

Improved and smarter implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives

The College today had an orientation debate on the conclusion of the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the main European legislation for the protection of nature. While the Directives are vital for Europe's nature conservation policy and its competitiveness, their implementation needs to be improved, as shown in an extensive evaluation carried out by the Commission consulting more than 500,000 citizens and stakeholders across all Member States.

Taking into account today's orientation debate, the Commission will as a next step draw up a comprehensive Action Plan in 2017. The Plan would include a number of actions, in partnership with Member States and key stakeholder groups to improve the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives. Actions should indicate guidelines for regional actors, engaging in structured dialogue through stakeholder platforms, making best use of new technologies, and incentivising national and regional investment in biodiversity.

Roaming: fair-use policy

The College of Commissioners agreed today on the fair use policy and sustainability clarifications to end the roaming charges for travellers in the EU as of 15 June 2017. The overall aim of the clarifications is to strengthen consumer protection while making sure that abuse and situations which could lead to an increase in domestic prices are avoided. Now the Representatives of Member States will have to vote on the text before the Commission formally adopts it.