The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programme of the European Commission has been in the pipeline for a year and a half. Now the three EU institutions have all defined their positions and will come to an agreement by May 2018, namely almost 6 months after it was foreseen originally. Here you can read the negotiation positions of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament.
Most probably, the first call for grants will be launched in June/July 2018 and the first projects will be selected in September 2018.
In terms of funding, the budget available will most likely be the same that was already available through the European Voluntary Service programme. De facto, the ESC has been an initiative to change the EVS programme.
When drafting its position for the negotiations, the European Parliament has taken into account many of the demands coming from volunteering organisations, among which:
- a new name for the programme: European Solidarity and Voluntary Service (ESVS)
- a call for a stronger and more cohesive approach to volunteering at EU level and to the ESVS objective to promote more young people involvement in volunteering at national and EU level.
- a clarification of the aim and objectives of the programme with strengthened focus on promoting EU citizenship and belonging and addressing clearly defined needs at local level in a sustainable way
- a strong focus on inclusivity of ESVS so that all young people can benefit from it. including specific financial support and specific pre-placement preparation for young people from dissafvantaged backgrounds
- a broader definition of volunteering to include part-time and free time volunteering
- the suggestions that volunteering placements can only be offered by participating organisations that operate in the non-profit sector, foundations and social enterprises.
- a focus on pre and post placement support (both online and offline ) provided in collaboration with youth organisations and other non-profit and civil society organisations in order to tap into their expertise on the field.
- a broader geographical focus: all Erasmus+ programme countries and partner countries would be able to participate,in particular countries neighbouring the EU
- a clear definition of the role of “Sending organisation” and “Receiving organisation” in ESVS
- a stronger role of Youth Pass in the ESVS for the recognition of competences gained by volunteer during their service
- the creation of a consultative body involving European solidarity and volunteering NGO networks, to help manage the ESVS.
- the part of the ESVS dedicated to Traineeships and jobs is mentioned clearly as a separate dimension from voluntary activities, both from a financial and organisational point of view.
- the possibility for EU-wide organisations like EFIL, the Federation of AFS organisations in Europe, to apply centrally to the EACEA for ESVS projects involving the members of the network.
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