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Newsletter of the Various Interests Group of the EESC
In a bid to secure better public authority recognition for the economic value of volunteering, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has pushed for a regulation to harmonise measurement of this activity in EU countries.
The EESC endorses views expressed in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid regarding the objectives and assets of humanitarian action and expresses its conviction that humanitarian aid includes protecting people affected by humanitarian crises, maintaining their dignity and respecting their rights. The Committee stresses the genuine nature of voluntary action which should not be confused with other types of action involving work Volunteer involvement must always be needs-based, following an analysis and assessment of the situation and the needs of populations affected by disasters or complex crises.
The aim of the hearing is to bring together experts, civil society representatives and decision-makers from national and European institutions, think tanks and volunteering organisations, who will present their views on the availability and need for such statistical data. Based on the findings of the hearing, the EESC will draw up an own-initiative opinion on the same topic, to be presented later in the course of 2013.
Comparable data on volunteering in the individual EU Member States has never been available. Such activities, however, represent real economic value and this data could provide a very useful tool for facilitating implementation of many social and economic policies. Therefore the Committee calls on the European Commission to work on a standardised methodology for research into volunteer work and to ensure its adoption by the Member States via an appropriate EU Regulation. In so doing, use should be made of the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work. The Commission should also introduce binding legal measures to enable the non-profit sector to co-finance public grants with the economic value of volunteer work.
"Active citizenship is central to the role of the European Economic and Social Committee. In this book, 24 EESC members talk about their personal contribution, as business people and trade unionists, campaigners and volunteers, revealing a vast and fascinating range of diff erent interests and priorities. What they all have in common is that they express a sense of
solidarity with others in society, and concern for their welfare."
Anna Maria Darmanin
EESC Vice-President, President of the Communication Group