“A half-baked proposal to strengthen European solidarity: European Commission’s “European Solidarity Corps” idea is still not ripe to replace European Voluntary Service

 

The European Solidarity Corps has been launched by President Juncker in September 2016, during his State of the European Union speech, and first applicants to the portal registered in December of the same year. Following criticism over the lack of an own legal basis by both the European Parliament and civil society organisations, the Commission issued a regulation establishing the scheme in May 2017. Ever since, despite calls for swift approval, the proposal has been stuck in negotiations between the Parliament and the Member States. Today, the European Commission issued a regulation outlining the budget for the European Solidarity Corps from 2021 onwards.


“The European Solidarity Corps remains an instransparent and unclear programme and today’s regulation for the post-2020 framework does little to add clarity. There is no clear budget allocation between volunteering, traineeship and job opportunities, potentially leaving the allocation to intransparent ad-hoc decisions by national agencies. The Commission’s own impact assessment concluded there is very limited interest in the occupational strand, a concern already expressed by youth organisations when the first proposal was issued. Commissioners Navracsics and Thyssen should have reconsidered the inclusion of the strand altogether, given the lack of any pilot phase before decisions on the next multiannual budget are being taken”, explains Christopher Glück, President of the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe).


“We welcome the intention to strengthen solidarity amongst Europeans and the increased focus on European volunteering and youth, with a budget of 1.2 billion euros allocated to the future programme. The increased envelope gives volunteering well-deserved political recognition. However, we believe that until changes to the European Voluntary Service programme can be duly justified, the focus of the programme should remain on volunteering opportunities and the promotion of stronger civic engagement by young people in Europe. For JEF Europe it remains unclear what the added value of the new programme is. To foster volunteering among young people, all that was needed were increased resources for the existing successful programmes”, concludes Christopher Glück.



More information on JEF Europe


The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe is a non-partisan youth NGO with over 13.000  members active in more than 35 countries. Founded in 1972, the organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy, subsidiarity and rule of law. JEF promotes true European Citizenship, and works towards more active participation of young people in democratic life.

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