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.
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.
Support needed for volunteer organisations and individual volunteering initiatives
To promote volunteering, the EU should create a European Year of Volunteers in 2025, reach out to older volunteers and collect data on this activity which is of precious value for Europe's future, says the EESC
Volunteers do not just deliver services that benefit communities, they also play an essential role in promoting European values and creating a better future for the EU
While Europe and its societies are still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the Conference on the Future of Europe in its closing stages, the EESC will be holding its annual Civil Society Days in March 2022.
In the context of the own-initiative opinion on Volunteers – Citizens building the future of Europe, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is organising a remote public hearing on Monday 20 September 2021. The aim of the hearing is to gather the points of view of social partners and other civil society organisations, experts and coordinators of projects related to volunteering, on the topic, and to hold a discussion on the impact of civil society trends for volunteering and the current state of play of volunteering at European level.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has proved to be an endurance test for human and social rights, democratic values, the rule of law and economic resilience in the EU. While navigating stormy waters, organised civil society is playing a key role in coping with the countless pandemic-related challenges at European, national, regional and local level.