A total of €44m has been set aside from the EU budget for selected projects that will be open to all young people across Europe and beyond.
This is the first of a series of calls that will allow at least 100,000 young people to take part in the Corps until the end of 2020.
Speaking at the launch in Brussels on Friday, European budget and human resources Commissioner Günther Oettinger said, “With the launch of this new call under the European Solidarity Corps, we are delivering on our commitment to create more opportunities for young people to engage in solidarity activities. Funded by the EU budget, the European Solidarity Corps is the best framework for young people to learn, share and use their energy for the common good.”
Organisations will be able to offer short-term projects (from two weeks to two months) for teams of volunteers. Organisations will first need to receive a quality label, for which they can apply at any time by submitting a request to the Erasmus+ national agency, or in certain cases, to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.
Not only public and private bodies established in EU member states can apply for funding. Young people registered in the ESC portal will also be able to form a group of at least 5 participants and set up youth-led solidarity activities themselves.
Certain European Solidarity Corps projects in the field of volunteering are also open to the participation of non EU-organisations from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and other partner countries.
Projects under the call for proposals launched today will be selected once the European Parliament and Council formally adopt the Commission proposal, following their agreement in June.
The deadline to apply is 16 October 2018, except for projects of volunteering teams, who have time to apply until 18 February 2019.
The ESC was launched in 2016. Since then, 72,000 young people have registered and about 7000 of them are involved in solidarity activities.
In May 2017, the Commission put forward a proposal to dedicate more than €340m to the EU Solidarity Corps, and to strengthen its legal structure, so that 100,000 young people can participate by the end of 2020.
In June 2018, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on this proposal, which must now be formally adopted by both. In the meantime, preparatory steps can be taken, including the launch of the call for proposals today.
On Friday, further comment came from Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, who said, “Solidarity is one of the key values of the European Union. Time and again, young people across the EU have shown their willingness to help those in need. By creating a dedicated framework and making available the necessary funding for the period 2018-2020, we want to give them more opportunities to engage, including the possibility to form a group of volunteers and come up with their own ideas for solidarity projects.”
Elsewhere, European Commissioner for employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility, Marianne Thyssen, added, “The European Solidarity Corps helps young people in their professional development and their integration into the labour market.
With its strong European dimension of solidarity, the Corps is an extraordinary opportunity for young people to develop interpersonal skills and acquire new knowledge, all of these bringing an added value to them and society in general.”