The need for solidarity
In his State of the Union address on 14 September 2016, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the plan for a European Solidarity Corps.
"There are many young, socially-minded people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity. We can create opportunities for them to do so … Solidarity is the glue that keeps our Union together," he said.
The aim of the European Solidarity Corps is to give 18‑30 year olds the chance to take part in a range of activities to help those impacted by challenging situations across the EU. Participation will not only benefit those providing the help but also assist national and local authorities, non-governmental organisations and companies in their efforts to cope with various challenges and crises.
- put into practice EU values of solidarity
- help tackle challenges with society, environment and natural disasters
- enable young people to help where it is needed most
Opportunities for young people
- gain life and work experience
- learn new skills and languages
- help and support others, including society's most vulnerable
Young people will have the opportunity to get experience in confronting challenging situations – from rebuilding communities after natural disasters to helping tackle issues such as social exclusion or helping welcome and integrate refugees and migrants.
Opportunities for solidarity organisations
Organisations working in solidarity-related activities, whether a local authority, non‑governmental organisation or company, will be able to recruit young people to volunteer or carry out a work placement, internship or apprenticeship with them, provided they meet the criteria for becoming a host organisation and subscribe to the Charter of the European Solidarity Corps.
What the Commission is doing
The Commission is establishing 2 types of youth placement as part of the Solidarity Corps. 18‑30 year olds can take part for 2 to 12 months in:
- volunteer placements – offering full-time, unpaid opportunities
- occupational placements – providing traineeships, apprenticeships and jobs
The minimum age to participate in a solidarity project is 18, but 17‑year olds may already register.