Development MEPs voted Tuesday to open up the new European Solidarity Corps Programme, providing volunteering experience with a humanitarian focus, to all ages.

Development MEPs recommend to lift the upper age limit for future participants in the European Solidarity Corps to allow experienced individuals to contribute to humanitarian aid. The European Commission proposal set 30 years as the upper limit.

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“Assistance to people and communities outside the Union which are in need of humanitarian aid is an important expression of solidarity. There is great potential in actions that focus on organisational and local capacity building, resilience and in actions linking relief, rehabilitation and development, awareness raising and communication about humanitarian needs and principles”, said the rapporteur of the opinion of the Committee on Development, Eleni Theocharous (ECR, Cyprus). She underlined that it should be possible for non-profit humanitarian organisations and senior professionals to benefit from training and funding opportunities if they wish to participate in the new programme.

“Considering the specificities of humanitarian aid operations, experienced individuals would also be able to contribute to humanitarian aid on a voluntary basis, not only to ensure the quality of aid but also in support of the young humanitarian aid volunteers”, she added.

You can watch the replay of the committee vote here.

Next steps

Culture committee MEPs will vote on the draft report, which today’s opinion complements, on February 4th.

Background

The proposal of the European Commission recommends merging the European Solidarity Corps for young people with the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative/European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. The proposal extends the scope of the European Solidarity Corps to include support to humanitarian aid operations in non-EU countries, including those located in the EU outermost regions' neighbourhood.