What is the EU's role?

Volunteering is an excellent example of non-formal learning for young people. The EU Youth Strategy promotes:

  • Greater recognition of the value of voluntary activities and the skills it promotes
  • Good working conditions for young volunteers and opportunities for enriching work
  • Intergenerational solidarity
  • Transnational volunteering

The Council Recommendation on the Mobility of Young Volunteers across the EU aims to create more cross-border volunteering opportunities. It encourages Member States to ensure that every young person who wishes to volunteer has the opportunity to do so. The Recommendation calls for Member States to:

  • Raise more awareness about the benefits of volunteering abroad
  • Develop opportunities for volunteering abroad
  • Promote quality through the development of self-assessment tools
  • Recognise learning outcomes of voluntary activities through schemes such as Europass and Youthpass
  • Promote cross-border mobility of youth workers and young people in youth organisations
  • Pay particular attention to young people with fewer opportunities

How is this being done?

The European Commission supports Member States through the development of the Volunteering Database and promoting exchange of experiences through the Expert Group on the Mobility of Young Volunteers across the EU.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS), part of Erasmus+, offers young people aged 17-30 the chance to volunteer in another Member State as well as outside the EU. The European Voluntary Service started in 1996. Read more about its history here.

The European Youth Portal includes a Volunteering Database where young people can find information about current volunteering opportunities.

If you are alreadly involved in EVS, our Info Kit provides useful information for volunteers setting off on EVS.

The European Solidarity Corps was launched in December 2016. The European Solidarity Corps allows young people to volunteer (or work) in projects for the benefit of communities and people around Europe. The European Solidarity Corps is open to people between the ages of 18 to 30. 17-year-olds can register their interest in participating.

The Commission also supports Member States wishing to enhance their civic services, through actions such as Prospective Initiatives under Erasmus+.