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Date : Monday, 04 December 2017
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Date : Tuesday, 12 December 2017
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Event report - European Solidarity Corps Stakeholder Forum

Young people from all over Europe wish to contribute with volunteer activities to the development of a more inter-connected European civil society and in areas of crisis, where the European presence is needed the most. Yet, the lack of opportunities in solidarity activities is leading to a significant waste of human capital and potential in a variety of fields like education and youth, health, social and labour market integration, shelter and site constructions, and others.

The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) initiative tries to fill in this gap and has been the subject of the corresponding Stakeholder Forum on 12 April in Brussels. Via the ESC, the European Union is to stimulate and structure such instances from all civil societies of the member states. The way forward has been brainstormed during the Forum and led to the following conclusions about individuals, organisations and funds to be addressed to the attention of the competent EU Institutions.

Volunteers will register into a database and could be selected and invited to join a wide range of projects, as outlined in the Mission of the European Solidarity Corps. They will be entitled to concrete forms of funding, e.g. travel costs for cross/borders placements, insurance coverage, costs for food and accomodation (for certain destinations). They will also be supported with dedicated trainings and language courses before and during the placements.

All governmental organisations, municipalities, non-governmental organisations and companies of all sizes with a clear solidarity project will be able to apply. They will need to be in line with the Mission and Principles of the Corps and adhere to the Charter of the European Solidarity Corps. Throughout the year, the European Commission will announce that it is seeking project proposals for different types of European Solidarity Corps projects. All organisations will undergo checks to become accredited to run projects for the European Solidarity Corps, and before they are allowed to search for and recruit participants for their projects. Organisations should be granted easy access to funding and accreditation procedures.

A clear stress have been put on the need of complementarity with already existing schemes and initiatives (e.g. European Voluntary Scheme, LIFE Programme, etc.).

Finally, the ESC will also provide structural networking channels to allow potential participants to get in touch and join forces on new initiatives, as well as exchange feedbacks and good practices, thus indirectly the recruitment and match-making possibilities among individual volunteers and organisations.

Eugene GIONI

#EUevents reporter