On March 12, the European Parliament adopted its position on the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), a new European Union initiative that seeks to create opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in another EU country. It will now be possible for disadvantaged young people to take part in the programme also in their home country on projects that benefit communities and people around Europe.
Actions covered include activities such as helping children and the elderly, assisting in centres for asylum seekers or helping to prevent natural disasters or rebuild afterwards. By integrating the former separate EU Aid Volunteers initiative into the European Solidarity Corps, a new field of action was created for the ESC, namely the support of humanitarian aid activities in third countries. This leads to additional organizational synergies and cost savings.
The programme will provide opportunities for over 350,000 participants between 2021 and 2027, and builds on the successful pilot launched in 2016. It aims to strengthen the spirit of solidarity among participants and encourage them to continue expressing their solidarity throughout their entire lives.
The overall budget available for the implementation of the European Solidarity Corps is set at €1.3 billion for the period 2021-2027. 86% of the budget for activities will be dedicated to volunteering, the rest for jobs and traineeships and volunteering in humanitarian aid.
The European Solidarity Corps is merging several EU volunteering and solidarity traineeships/jobs schemes into one single programme acting as a "one stop shop" for all solidarity related opportunities for young people.”
As for next steps, the final text must be negotiated and agreed with the Council under the next parliamentary term.