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 to volunteer 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.

Erasmus+ volunteering projects offer young people aged 17-30 the chance to volunteer in another Member State as well as outside the EU. Such volunteering opportunities have been supported since 1996, under the European Voluntary Service.  Read more about its history here.

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

Should you be interested in taking part in Erasmus+ Volunteering, our Info Kit provides useful information for volunteers about to embark on their activity.

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

In its initial phase, the European Solidarity Corps is supported through 8 existing EU Programmes among which Erasmus+. In parallel, after intense consultation with a large variety of stakeholders, on 30 May 2017 the European Commission proposed a Regulation laying down the legal framework of the European Solidarity Corps. The proposal is currently under interinstitutional negotiations and it is expected that the European Solidarity Corps will be implemented on the basis of this Regulation as from mid-2018.

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