International Volunteer Day and the importance of volunteers

Every year, since 1986, we celebrate International Volunteer Day. This year’s theme is 'Volunteer now for our common future'.

The future is at the heart of our discussions in the European Union and at the European Economic and Social Committee – for our recovery from COVID-19 and in the context of the 'Conference on the Future of Europe'. In both these processes it is clear that volunteers are central to our future prosperity, and that everything necessary must be done to support, recognise and facilitate their efforts.

The new Blueprint for European Volunteering 2030, developed by the Centre for European Volunteering, member of the EESC Liaison Group representing the European volunteering sector, sets out what is needed for volunteering to be of even more value to society. It lays out how the compassion, altruism, generosity and solidarity that underpins volunteering needs to take place in an enabling context and be properly supported by appropriate public and private resources so that its full potential can be reached.

International Volunteer Day is a good opportunity to convey a message to the public on the importance of democracy, human rights, solidarity, inclusion, and European values in general that are demonstrated every day by volunteers all across Europe and the world. The EESC has repeatedly emphasised that volunteers play a key role in the lives of current and future generations and are a main driver of a true social transformation. We need to make every effort to ensure that we take this opportunity to highlight that volunteering is a heritage generated by the community and is key to making our social fabric and our democracies more resilient and able to respond to existing and future social demands.

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