Agreement reached on new EU Solidarity Corps

European Solidarity Corps

(Credit: European Commission-European Solidarity Corps)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

The setting-up of a European Solidarity Corps, offering volunteering opportunities around the EU, has been agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators.

The creation of a “European Solidarity Corps” was informally agreed by Parliament and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of EU Ministers. It will be the main entry-point of solidarity activities in the EU and offer opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects that can benefit communities.

During the negotiations, Parliament’s delegation negotiated that 20% (€76 million) of the funding for this initiative to be fresh money and 80% drawn from redeployments from other programmes, without major cuts for Erasmus+.

The EUR 375,6 million budget will be made available between 2018-2020, and the Parliament succeeded in securing 90% financing of the budget for volunteering activities and 10% for traineeships and job placements. This will help participants to gain skills and knowledge for their future long-term prospects.

Parliament negotiators also secured in the programme a wide range of activities, such as solidarity, education, health, environmental protection, disaster prevention, provision of food and non-food items as well as reception and integration of migrants and asylum seekers. Priority will be given to non-profit activities.

Quote

EP lead negotiator Helga Trüpel (Greens/EFA, DE) said:We are now on course to deliver this fantastic project, which will give young people the chance to take part in projects that will benefit communities across Europe. This programme is an important step to strengthen solidarity in Europe.

I am pleased that the Council has finally seen sense and come forward with the funds necessary to make this project viable. It will also be certified with a quality label to make sure that young people are guaranteed quality care, accommodation and payment. These proper standards will protect against exploitation and guard against jobs being undercut by the use of young volunteers.

Next steps

Following the informal agreement, the text will first have to be confirmed by the Culture and Education Committee. A vote in plenary to endorse the new rules is likely to follow in September (tbc).

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