ALDA supports the steps forward for the European Solidarity Corps
On 18 July, ALDA brought in its contribution into the public hearing on the European Solidarity Corps and Youth Initiatives organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
The aim of the event was to discuss with representatives of civil society, policy makers, private and public institutions how to ensure high quality standards for the European Solidarity Corps and a Youth Initiative able to respond to today's societal challenges.
The debate, moderated by Mr Pavel Trantina, rapporteur of the Study Group SOC/566 on Youth initiative/ Consolidation of the European Solidarity Corps has highlighted a number of still existing concerns in regards to the programme.
The first concern raised was about the definition of volunteering and solidarity actions which is rather vague or restrictive. This, consequently leads to a lack of distinction between volunteering and occupational placements which might trigger the quality of the service.
Other quality related questions were in relation to the quality of the placement along with the qualifications of the volunteers/trainees particularly in special fields such as education or health care. Not less important is the outreach and information of young people about the programme and particularly inclusion of people with fewer opportunities.
The participants at the debate stressed the strong need to involve youth organisations and young people in the co-management of the programme, during the design, implementation and evaluation of the programme. This is of particular importance when talking about pre-placement, along the placement and upon return support provided by sending organisation, the online platform having limited opportunities to ensure the quality of the placements in this sense.
The legislative proposal at the moment foresees a central role of the National Agencies in the management and implementation of the programme while civil society questions the accessibility, administrative burdens and National Agencies’ capacity to support alone the implementation of the ESC at the local level.
Last, but not least, the strongest concern since the very beginning of ESC idea is in relation to the impact of the ESC on Erasmus+, particularly the reallocation and shrinking budget of the already existing youth dedicate programmes and annual budget adjustment.
Mr Robert Franče, Head of Sector, Erasmus+: Youth from the European Commission stressed that the need to maintain the quality level while not creating something elitist and follow the inclusiveness principle. Moreover, he pointed out that compared to other legislative proposals, the ESC for the regulation is very brief and the concept note provides more detailed information about the formats of the initiatives.
The EESC will continue the public consultations with civil society organisations throughout the next months to produce a final opinion at the end of October. ALDA is following closely the evolution of the ESC pleading for a programme that will bring added value and strengthen the solidarity at the local level.