The EU needs a better coordinated policy on volunteering, to give volunteers a proper legal status and help them join programmes, say MEPs in a resolution voted on 27 October. Almost 100 million EU citizens have taken part as volunteers in education, culture or arts, sport events, humanitarian and development aid work. Young people should take advantage of volunteering schemes to develop skills and acquire experience that helps them to find jobs afterwards, stresses the text. Despite the real social and economic benefits of volunteering for individuals and organisations, participation in the European Volunteering Service remains modest and many barriers still have to be removed. People of all ages should be encouraged to take advantage of volunteering to improve their skills and understanding of other cultures, and thus improve their chances of finding a job, say MEPs.
This call comes after President Juncker’s speech on the “State of the Union” for 2016 during which he announced the set up of a European Solidarity Corps, supporting youth volunteer across the EU where help is most needed. “By voluntarily joining the European Solidarity Corps, these young people will be able to develop their skills and get not only work but also invaluable human experience.”