European Solidarity Corps: S&Ds insist quality jobs for young Europeans must not be replaced by unpaid volunteering
The Socialists and Democrats Group today pushed through an important resolution on the European Solidarity Corps, calling on the Commission to ensure that the initiative is properly funded and that quality jobs are not replaced by unpaid volunteering.
Additionally, the S&Ds highlighted the need to ensure that the initiative, which aims at creating opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects across the EU, does not impact on other existing programmes such as Europe for Citizens and the Erasmus+ programme.
Petra Kammervert MEP, S&D chair of the committee on culture and education and author of the report on the European Solidarity Corps said:
"The European Solidarity Corps should not be at the expense of other successful programmes such as Erasmus+. If the Commission is not providing fresh money for this new initiative, the programmes through which it will be financed need to be properly equipped. In addition, youth work organisations and volunteering services should be better involved in the development and implementation of the European Solidarity Corps.
"Moreover, we believe that the European Voluntary Service, which has supported around 100,000 young people engaging in volunteering projects over the past 20 years, should not be weakened through this new initiative and that any duplications of structures should be avoided."
Silvia Costa MEP, S&D Group spokesperson on culture and education said:
"We S&Ds want to give a voice to young Europeans and for us citizenship is an important priority. In line with our priorities, we believe that the European Solidarity Corps should reinforce the sense of shared belonging and responsibility for young Europeans in terms of emergency situations and social engagement. It should also respond to specific local community needs. In addition to this, there is a need for an established legal basis, as well as for dedicated resources that should not be taken from other programmes such as Erasmus+."
Jutta Steinruck MEP, S&D Group spokesperson on employment and social affairs, added:
"What we need the most today is to create new high-quality jobs, training and apprenticeships for young people. The initiative, however, does not provide a clear distinction between volunteering activities and job placements. We find this troubling as we fear that through this initiative paid jobs would be replaced by unpaid volunteering. We must make sure that this does not happen.
"We are calling on the Commission to ensure that any replacement or re-allocation of the resources of the existing programmes and initiatives – such as the Erasmus+ programme, European Youth Guarantee or Employment and Social Innovation programme – is avoided. Moreover, the Youth Employment Initiative has very limited resources which should not be used without a substantial increase for new initiatives."
Note to editors:
The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is a new EU initiative aimed at creating opportunities for young Europeans to volunteer or work in projects across the EU. ESC projects last from two to twelve months and are usually located within the European Union member states.