The European Solidarity Corps needs fresh funding and should focus on volunteering alone

© European Union  , 2016    /  Source: EC - Audiovisual Service     /   Photo: François Walschaerts

The EESC welcomes the creation of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), but some of the elements of this Commission's new programme for youth volunteering in Europe, including its funding, need to be further clarified and improved, the Committee said in its opinion on the legislative proposal for the ESC, adopted in October (rapporteur: Pavel Trantina, Various Interests, CZ; co-rapporteur: Antonello Pezzini, Employers, IT).

The EESC said it was very concerned with the proposed merging of the ESC goals with youth employment policies and suggested that the inclusion of job and traineeship placements in the programme should be reconsidered. Such an approach risked replacing paid work with unpaid labour for Europe's young people.

The ESC was first announced by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his 2016 State of the Union address. If approved, the ESC will have a budget of EUR 341.5 million for the 2018-2020 period, by the end of which it should welcome some 100 000 participants.

Almost 58% of the total ESC budget will be reallocated from Erasmus+. The EESC expressed concern over this reallocation of funds and stressed that investment in the ESC budget must not come at the expense of Erasmus+, which is already underfunded. It asked for more "fresh money" to be invested in the ESC. (ll)