Today was the official launch of the EU's new voluntary programme, the European Solidarity Corps. Announced by Juncker during his State of the Union speech in December 2016, the programme aims to connect solidarity based projects from civil society with people between the ages of 18 and 30. Since the Commission made public its initiative last year, around 20,000 young people have registered their interest.
Greens/EFA education and policy spokesperson, Helga Trüpel, comments:
“Promoting solidarity between young people across the EU is something we strongly support, but the European Commission will have to do better than this to make it happen. While we welcome the broad outline of the scheme proposed today, as well as the Commission's reassurances that the programme will not reduce the scope of existing programmes, fears remain that the proposed financial plan will struggle to fulfil its purpose.
"We take issue in particular with the proposed financing, which will mainly stem from a redistribution of the budgets of existing programmes. Although the Commission is promising some new funding, the amount of new money being invested is too small to properly restructure the existing European Voluntary Service and at the same time extend its scope.
“If the Commission is serious about creating greater solidarity in Europe, it has to invest much more."