WHAT WE DO > Advocacy > ESC > History of ESC
On 14 September 2016 the idea of an European Solidarity Corps was addressed by President Juncker.
Read here the full communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament,
the Council, the EESC and the COR.
On 1 December 2016 CEV & the European Youth Forum jointly prepared the dialogue with MEPs as a Breakfast meeting titled “ESC: Dialogue with the stakeholders in the youth and volunteering fields”. Find more here.
On 7 December 2016 European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva launched the European Solidarity Corps with the participation of a wide range of organisations and many young people in the Skyshelter dome on the Schuman roundabout in Brussels.
The event – which took place in parallel to similar launch events in the Member States – was
preceded by a press conference following the meeting of the College with Commissioners
Marianne Thyssen, Christos Stylianides, and Tibor Navracsics.
During the launch of the event, CEV Director Gabriella Civico stated that “volunteers are the
lungs of Europe breathing life energy and positivity and building solidarity”.
Read the speech here. You can also watch the video from the event here.
More than 100 million EUR are being invested to support young people through various EU funding programmes to be used in the European Solidarity Corps framework. Here you can find the first issue paper on the subject.
From the 6 February 2017 – 2 April 2017 there was a Public consultation on the European Solidarity Corps, in which the CEV was present. Read more about it here.
You can also find pictures of the Stakeholder forum on the ESC from the 12 April 2017 here.
On 23 March 2017: CEV organised "European Solidarity Corps & European Voluntary Service: Complementing or Competing?" together with MEPs, relevant stakeholders and representatives of the European Commission due to the fact that the discussion on the “European Solidarity Corps”, raised a lot of questions among the stakeholders, notably in terms of its financing from existing or other programmes.
On 30 May 2017 the European Commission has adopted the legal proposal to consolidate and further shape the European Solidarity Corps.You can find the press release here. And, on the same day, Giulia Bordin spoke at the European Commission press conference about her experience as an ESC Trainee at CEV. Find more here.
On 31 May 2017 CEV has also issued a press release about the ESC adoption of the legislative proposal. You can find it here.
In January 2017, an article written by Gabriella Civico, CEV director, was published within the “Voluntaris” publication. Find the article here.
In October 2017, CEV published a response to the “Save the EVS” petition that is available here.
On the 7 June 2017 the S&D seminar – European Solidarity Corps took place at the European Parliament.
In September 2017 the CULT Committee of the European Parliament commissioned a study about the European Solidarity Corps and Volunteering. Read it here. From 2017 two distinct but connected legislative processes began: One to allocate funding and establish the ESC within the existing MFF and another to establish the ESC with its own legal basis and funding within the 2021-2027 MFF.
ESC 2017 - 2020
On 10 October 2017 the European Parliament CULT and EMPL committees held a Joint Public Hearing on the “European Solidarity Corps”. CEV Director Gabriella Civico participated as one of the speakers on the “What, why and how” of the European Solidarity Corps and highlighted the need to support the integrity of solidarity and volunteering activities and for further coordination and harmonisation of policies on volunteering at a EU level, evoking the importance of the EYV2011 PAVE publication and the 5-year review from 2015 “Helping Hands”. Other speakers included Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, Pavel Trantina, President of the SOC section of the European Economic and Social Committee, Anna Widegren from the European Youth Forum and Piotr Sadowski from Volonteurope. To know more click here.
On 7 March 2018 the European Parliament published their report on the European Commission proposal from 30 May 2017. Read it here.
The European Commission issued an updated proposal for the regulation for the ESC on 11 June 2018. Read it here.
On 27 June 2018 an agreement was reached on the creation of a “European Solidarity Corps” by the European Parliament and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of EU Ministers. Read it here.
On 27 September 2018 the European Council formally adopted the ESC regulation that had been previously approved by the European Parliament on the 11 September 2018. Read it here. The new regulation entered into force on 5 October 2018. Read it here.
The European Parliament negotiators managed to secure €76 million (20%) fresh money, complemented by a redistribution that favours volunteering more strongly, and the inclusion of safeguards to avoid exploitation for profit-making purposes. An overall 2018-2020 budget of €375.6 million was approved, 90% of which is allocated to volunteering and 10% of which goes to the occupational strand of the programme.
For the full legislative procedure read here and for the timeline here.
ESC 2021 - 2027
The proposal for the 2021-2027 period aimed to consolidate the initiative, with new, completely autonomous funding, and introduce a uniform set of rules and a wider scope of activities. During the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting held in Brussels in November 2016, ministers welcomed the initiative to increase opportunities for mobility and volunteering. They thought this fostered social cohesion and made it possible for young people to experience the value of the European project. Council conclusions of 17 February 2017 highlighted the potential to help young people build the necessary soft skills to transit smoothly into gainful employment and to participate actively in an inclusive and democratic society. Read it here.
In a resolution of 6 April 2017, the European Parliament asked the Commission to define the objectives of the European Solidarity Corps clearly and to provide a sound legislative framework to avoid the risk that placements are misused to replace jobs or structured civil protection and humanitarian aid. Parliament insisted that the Corps needed its own funding and should form part of a broader strategy on volunteering and youth employment policies in the Member States. MEPs also called for a clear distinction between the volunteering and employment strands. The resolution recommended proper coordination in the implementation and monitoring of the initiative. Read the resolution here.
Read more from the European Parliament Briefing on the subject here.
In June 2018 the European Commission carried out an ex-ante evaluation in line with the financial regulations due to the level of spending. Read it here.
On 11 June 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation establishing the European Solidarity Corps programme, in the run-up to the discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, with a financial allocation of EUR 1 260 million The MFF proposal follows through a number of issues that the European Parliament had highlighted. The Commission proposed that the European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027 would be a stand-alone programme, with its own budget, and no longer depend on the budget of Erasmus and other EU programmes. The European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027 regulation absorbed the European Voluntary Service, which previously fell under the 'Youth' section of the Erasmus+ 2014-2020 programme. This extended the scope of the programme to non-EU countries, especially countries neighbouring the EU’s outermost regions. The Commission also proposed to assimilate the EU Aid Volunteers initiative in the same regulation and in this way create a one-stop-shop for all solidarity activities. This would restrict the age bracket of volunteers to that permissible under the European Solidarity Corps. Read here the full proposal.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted its opinion on 17 October 2018. The Committee welcomed the renewal of the Corps, the increase in budget and greater participation target, and the proposed merger with the EU Aid Volunteers programme. The EESC suggested two independent support programmes in the future, one for youth and another for volunteering. It recommended strict regulation and review of the employment strand. The committee was also against age restrictions for individuals and thought the programme should be open only to nonprofit-organisations. It stated that the European Youth Forum and the European Volunteer Centre should be central in the regulation and oversight of the Corps. Read here the adopted opinion.
On 26 November 2018 the Council agreed its position on the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) for 2021-2027 work period. Read here the full text.
The Committee of the Regions adopted its opinion on 5-6 December 2018. It called for regular meetings with the EU Youth Coordinator and formal cooperation with the Committee of the Regions. It welcomed the systematic tracking of youth financing programmes and hoped for increased funding. It called for a clear distinction between the volunteering and employment strands. It also drew attention to the importance of recognising skills and suggested that quality labels are attributed to the most original and effective activities. It was formally published in 2019. Read it here.
On 12 March 2019 the European Parliament agreed to expand the scope of the EU Solidarity Corps programme. Humanitarian aid in non-EU countries was now included as a new strand of the programme. Volunteering in this field is open to young people and experienced participants, from the age of 18, highly qualified and highly trained, who have undergone a background check, especially those working with vulnerable people and children. For more read here.
Following the COVID19 crisis, on 27 May 2020 the European Commission’s revised proposal for the for the EU Multiannual Financial Framework -MFF- (2021-2027) allocated 1 009 (895 million € on 2018 prices) of the total MFF budget of 1,100 billion€, to ESC representing a reduction of 20% from the original proposal.
The European Parliament issued the following statement expressing regret and dismay at this decrease. Read it here.
In July 2020 the European Union Council meeting reached a political agreement on a €1 074.3 billion MFF combined with the €750 billion Next Generation EU (NGEU). On November 10th 2020, the agreement was sealed also with the European Parliament.
On 17 December 2020, the final adoption of the 2021-2027 package by the Council of the European Union took place.
Following this negotiation process, on 15 April 2021 the European Commission launched the first call for proposals (here the legislative document) under the new European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027 with a dedicated budget of €1.009 billion for 2021-2027 for activities in which youngsters will address societal and humanitarian challenges through volunteering or by setting up their own solidarity projects. For the first year of action, more than €138 million are available.
The call covers volunteering projects, volunteering teams in high priority areas, solidarity projects, quality label for solidarity volunteering activities and quality label for humanitarian aid volunteering. The Traineeship and working strands are not part of the programme anymore.
The new European Solidarity Corps supports the political priorities of the European Union and engages organisations and young people in projects to address them:
inclusion and diversity
Incorporation of green practices
supports digital transition
2021 additional thematic area is health in projects addressing health challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recovery.
Find the new programme Guide here.
On 18 June 2021 the new European Solidarity Corps programme was launched in Viana do Castelo (PT), within
the framework of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU at a hybrid event with an audience of
young people and representatives from the EU institutions. Find the recording of the event here.