European Solidarity Corps: from pilot project to reality
On 27 June EU ambassadors confirmed an agreement between the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council and European Parliament representatives on a legal framework for the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) and a related budget for the period 2018-2020.
The ESC was created to help young people between 18 and 30 to participate in a range of solidarity activities in different fields (environment, culture, social services, helping refugees, migrants, children or the elderly) as a tangible expression of European values. The aim of the ESC is to contribute to addressing unmet societal needs, while enhancing young people’s personal, educational, social, civic and professional development.
Today's agreement makes it possible to switch to phase two of the ESC implementation and to reach the objective of seeing the first 100.000 Europeans participate in ESC activities by 2020.
"In just a few months the ESC has already proven its value: young people have decided to use their time to help the others, knowing that this enriching experience will help them in the future both as individuals and professionals. This is a clear message: European solidarity is not just a motto but a reality. And this reality can now thrive thanks to an agreement that gives the scheme clear rules and adequate funding."
Krasen Kralev, Minister for youth and sports of the Republic of Bulgaria and President of the Council
The proposal for a European Solidarity Corps was presented by the Commission as a part of the broader set of initiatives called "Investing in Europe's Youth" launched on 7 December 2016. The ESC builds on the experience of the European Voluntary Service (EVS), which has provided volunteering opportunities for young people for 20 years, as well as policies and programmes such as the Youth Guarantee and the “Your First Eures Job”.
Since its launch in December 2016 eight different EU-wide ESC programmes have been mobilised to offer volunteering, traineeship or job opportunities in solidarity-related sectors to young people across the EU. So far almost 60.000 young people have registered and almost 5.000 of them started a placement.
After a successful phasing in of the project, clear rules and an appropriate budget were needed.
Read the full press release on the website of the Council of the European Union.