On the 14th September 2016, Mr Juncker, President of the European Commission announced the creation of a European Solidarity Corps. In the state of the union address, he stated that “(t)here are many young, socially-minded people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity”.
In a similar way to the US Peace Corps, the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) will help to offer people under 30 in Europe the chance to support a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company active in addressing challenging situations across the European Union.
The European Commission argues that the scheme could help the development of social, health care and rehabilitation services, for people at risk of poverty and social exclusion, such as the Roma, people with disabilities, certain immigrant groups and other people facing discrimination and prejudice. Any person in Europe under 30 will be able to join the corps.
Costs for the programme will be paid primarily by two EU professional and volunteering programmes for young people: the European Youth Guarantee and the European Voluntary Service. Social Service providers will be able to find employees, trainees or volunteers for solidarity-minded projects through an easy, single-point access to information, placement and recruitment services. Moreover, the pool of motivated young people will be much broader than the typical local or national radius.
The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) views this proposal as a positive contribution to promoting solidarity in Europe, whilst also helping to strengthen the skills of young people in Europe today. EASPD will work with the European Commission to ensure that the ESC responds best to the sector’s needs and opportunities.
It is expected that the European Solidarity Corps will be set-up and implemented within the next 12 months.
For more information, please contact Thomas Bignal, EASPD Policy Officer.