The EESC welcomes the fact that the ESC promotes awareness of European citizenship. It expresses its satisfaction that priorities highlighted by CSOs were included in the legal basis, but believes that youth organisations (YO) and social partners must be involved in its co-management. Is very concerned by the merging of its goals with those of employment policies. It asks that better preparation is provided, also for the disadvantaged, before placement, and demands that more "fresh money" is invested in it.
- welcomes the European Commission's proposal, recognising it as a good start for a broader discussion, but with a lot of elements to clarify and improve;
- is satisfied that some of the priorities that were highlighted by the civil society organisations in the various stakeholder consultations organised by the Commission were included in the legal basis;
- considers that the added value of the ESC projects lies in the fact that they seek to establish among participants and the communities hosting them a full awareness of European citizenship and a sense of belonging to one Union;
- asks for more "fresh money" to be invested in the programme;
- is very concerned about the merging of the ESC goals with those of youth employment policies; it therefore suggests that the inclusion of job and traineeship placements in the programme should be reconsidered;
- is of the opinions that placements should be limited to non-profit organisations, foundations and social enterprises;
- has come up with the following suggestions for improving the draft legal basis:
- the definition of volunteering and solidarity actions should be changed;
- online platforms must become a genuinely effective interactive and management tool;
- more support and preparation should be provided for young people, including the disadvantaged, before their placement and youth organisations should be supported in providing such preparation;
- youth organisations and social partners must be involved in the co-management of the ESC;
- accessibility must be enhanced, administrative burdens lowered and the approach of national agencies changed so as to make them more user-friendly.