European Solidarity Corps: the legal base is here

On the 30th of May, as promised, the European Commission present the legal base to the European Parliament for the European Solidarity Corps. The European Youth Forum organized on the 7th of June a meeting with its Member’s organization (MO) to discuss this.

The predominant purpose of this proposal is to provide opportunities for young people to engage in solidarity activities, including volunteering, traineeships, jobs, as well as projects developed by young people at their own initiative. On the 7th of June the European Youth Forum invited its MO’s to discuss together the main points of the legal base.

The legal base included three main activities  that a young person could join:

  • Volunteering, traineeships and jobs

  • Solidarity projects

  • Networking activities

The legal base also presents the possibility to take part in a solidarity project in his/her own  country,including a short term one like the SCI workcamps. These are both good initiative, especially for thosewho wants to get involved in volunteering and solidarity projects, but sometimes  don’t want to go abroad or not for such a long period.

The time framework for the European Solidarity Corps foresees that the Parliament will discuss the legal proposal in October and it should be approved in December. That means that from January 2018 the European Solidarity Corps will have a proper legal base.

From the budget point of view, there are 341.500.000 EUR budgeted till 2020. 197.700.000 EUR are reallocated from EVS funds (you can find it on page 12 of the English version of the legal proposal). Then there are other funds reallocated from European Social Fund, Union Civil Protection Mechanism, LIFE programme, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The intention of the Commission is to have a proper budget for ESC starting from 2020, right now is mostly reallocated funds.

During the meeting, two main concerns come out. The first was about the lack of a sending organization in the European Solidarity Corps system. In fact the database allow the hosting association to choose the profile of person for a volunteer or job position, and contact directly the person, without the  sending organization as is currently the case with the European Voluntary Service.
This is a concern fort he network between sending and hosting, that helps the volunteer to have two side – the hosting and the sending organization – that he/she can speak to, learn and be support by, but this is not the only concern. It is also about the competences that the volunteer will acquire during the experience and that once they are back in his/her own country, they can then spend in the sending organization.  In general with the actual framework, there is no space for the sending organization who is the association that normally hasaccess to the database and can choose the best profile – job or volunteering – according to their necessity. This highlights a lack of preparation, quality monitoring and evaluation.

The second concern is about having one database  for two different opportunities: job and volunteering.
On the otherside, the concern of most NGO’s is the fact that there could be many young people who already subscribe to the ESC database and they may have certain expectations for a job, but then eventually a volunteer offer comes. So this system could penalize non-profits and volunteering sector with different expectations.

These next months will be useful to keep working and lobbying on these two important points of the ESC, as well as a great opportunity for young people to work on solidarity as a value.

Are you interested to take part in ESC as an organization? Read here.



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