The EESC welcomes the proposal for the European Year of Volunteering 2011.
In order to generate long-term synergistic benefits, close links should be forged with other European years: 2010 (combating poverty) and 2012 (active ageing and intergenerational solidarity);
and a political agenda and infrastructure to promote volunteer work should be put in place in the EU Member States.
The EESC feels that a propitious environment is needed to garner the required support and secure the proper infrastructure for voluntary work at local, regional, national and European level and to enable the public to take part. The EESC advocates the establishment of lasting European-level structures. The setting-up of a stakeholder platform for volunteering activities could help achieve this objective.
The objectives of the Year should be supported with more funding and give due consideration to the local dimension.
The stakeholders involved must be given time to prepare and implement the year effectively.
On the basis of the evaluation report, a white paper should be drawn up indicating follow-up and further steps and measures to be taken at European level.