Heinz Faßmann, Austrian Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research has said that this new regulation offers young Europeans the possibility of contributing to Europe’s development by participating in a range of activities aimed at benefiting society as a whole. The European Solidarity Corps now has a legal framework and a dedicated budget. We fully expect it to match the success of the Erasmus programme.
The Council adopted a regulation on the European Solidarity Corps. This follows an agreement reached with the European Parliament in June. The regulation establishes a legal framework for young people to volunteer or work in beneficial projects across Europe under the auspices of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC).
The main elements of the Regulation are as follows:
- The European Solidarity Corps will be open to young people aged 18-30 from the European Union, as well as acceding, candidate and potential candidate countries, EFTA and EEA countries, Switzerland and countries which fall within Europe’s neighbourhood policy.
- A wide range of activities will be proposed, including volunteering, traineeships, jobs and youth-led solidarity projects.
- It will offer the opportunity to support public and private bodies active in strengthening cohesion, solidarity and democracy in Europe, for example by addressing social exclusion, poverty, health or by working on the reception and integration of refugees.
- It will be based on existing good practices, mainly from the ERASMUS+ programme and Youth in Action.
- It will benefit from an overall budget of EUR 375 600 000 for the years 2018 to 2020.
The Council and the European Parliament now need to sign the adopted regulation. The signed text will be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force on the day following that of its publication.
The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) was announced by Commission President Juncker in his September 2016 State of Union speech. Phase 1 of the ESC was established without a legal proposal and was launched in December 2016. This new regulation launches Phase 2 and covers the years 2018 to 2020. It consolidates the ESC and provides for a single comprehensive funding instrument. It transfers most of the European Volunteering Service (EVS) from Erasmus to the new initiative and adds redeployed funding from other areas as well as some fresh money. (The total budget is approximately 375 million euros for three years). The Commission has since proposed a further programme for Phase 3 of the ESC covering the years 2021 to 2027.