Civil Society Europe has prepared with its members a position on the European Commission Proposal for European Solidarity Corps.
We find that the European Solidarity Corps proposal is particularly relevant in current European societies which are increasingly polarised and where people can feel more and more isolated. The initiative can also potentially contribute to a better understanding and sharing of the EU values and make feel people part of a common project that has relevance to their daily life.
However, in order to be successful we believe that the initiative needs to fulfil a number of conditions:
- A participatory setup and implementation of the programme
- Integration in a broader strategy and adequately resourced
- Focused on solidarity and human rights
- Subscription to a Quality Charter
- A clear distinction between volunteering and employment
- Quality training, mentoring and support
- A clear role for civil society organisation
- Clarifying financial and logistical aspects
The European Solidarity Corps has been officially launched on December 7th and young people can already register, but we see that a number of issues still need to be clarified. It is not clear why this was done so quickly and there is a risk to raise expectations that cannot be adequately fulfilled.
Now that we are heading towards implementation, a real process of dialogue with different steps leading to an effective and feasible initiative that can rally as much support as possible from the grassroots organisations who will provide the opportunities for the European Solidarity Corps, must be put in place.