Procedure : 2016/2872(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1134/2016

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 27/10/2016 - 3
CRE 27/10/2016 - 3

Votes :

PV 27/10/2016 - 8.8

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1126/2016

further to Question for Oral Answer B8-1803/2016

pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

on European Voluntary Service (2016/2872(RSP))

Andrew Lewer, Angel Dzhambazki on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on European Voluntary Service (2016/2872(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council Decision of 27 November 2009 on the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship (2011)(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 September 2011 entitled ‘EU Policies and Volunteering: Recognising and Promoting Cross-border Voluntary Activities in the EU’ (COM(2011)0568),

–  having regard to the European Year of Volunteering (EYV) 2011 Alliance Policy Agenda for Volunteering in Europe,

–  having regard to the Council recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2013 on volunteering and voluntary activity in Europe(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 June 2012 on recognising and promoting cross-border voluntary activities in the EU(4),

–  having regard to the European Charter on the Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers(5),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on European Voluntary Service (O-000107/2016 – B8-1803/2016),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  recalling that in 2016 the European Voluntary Service (EVS) celebrates its 20th anniversary and that 100 000 volunteers have been supported since its inception;

B.  emphasising that the European Year of Volunteering 2011 aimed to highlight the added value of volunteering in Europe and that five years on the European Parliament should consider the impact of the European Year on Volunteering 2011 in terms of added value and policy development and reflect on how volunteering is embedded in European programmes such as Erasmus+ and its European Voluntary Service;

C.  noting that the European Year of Volunteering 2011 may have provided impetus and context for the establishment and/or revision of national and legal frameworks for volunteering across Europe; stressing that, while the notion of a single point of contact for EU institutions and the sharing of best practice on volunteering at EU level have value, volunteering policy remains the competence of the EU Member States;

D.  recalling that volunteering is undertaken of a person’s own free-will, choice and motivation, without their seeking financial gain; emphasising that it can help to develop a sense of community and provide a way to address human, social or environmental needs and concerns;

E.  stressing that volunteering is one of the most visible expressions of community, promoting and facilitating social inclusion, building social capital and producing a transformative effect on society, and that volunteering contributes to the development of a thriving civil society, which can offer creative and innovative solutions to common challenges and which contributes to economic growth;

F.  highlighting the fact that a secure supporting environment for volunteers and volunteering organisations, including a sustainable volunteering infrastructure, can contribute to ensuring the engagement of more citizens in volunteering;

G.  underlining the fact that volunteering requires a combination of support mechanisms and/or appropriate organisational structures that can benefit from suitable legal frameworks in Member States identifying rights and responsibilities as regards volunteers and volunteering; understanding that volunteering rates and activities vary significantly from one Member State to another;

H.  stressing the importance of equal access to volunteering opportunities and protection against discrimination when undertaking volunteer work, as well as the right to reconcile volunteering activity with individuals’ private and working lives;

I.  emphasising that recognition of the social and economic value of volunteering is crucial in order to encourage appropriate incentives for all stakeholders and thus increase the quantity, quality and impact of volunteering;

J.  recognising that the Erasmus+ programme offers opportunities to fund and support volunteer projects, notably through the European Voluntary Service (EVS) programme, and that the EU Aid Volunteers programme has been launched by DG ECHO to provide practical support to humanitarian aid projects; stressing, however, that access for volunteer organisations to major EU Funds, such as European Structural and Investment Funds, remains limited;

K.  recalling that the current refugees crisis is a reminder of the importance of volunteers and volunteering; noting that volunteers can embody resilience and are often available to offer flexible and pragmatic solutions to shared challenges;

1.  Recognises that volunteering is an expression of community, freedom and responsibility that contributes to the strengthening of active citizenship and is an essential tool for social inclusion and cohesion, alongside training, education and intercultural dialogue, while making an important contribution to the dissemination of the values of the EU Member States; stresses that its benefits are also recognised in voluntary work carried out with third countries as a strategic tool for fostering mutual understanding and intercultural relations;

2.  Recognises the value of national legal frameworks that clarify the status of volunteers and volunteering, and the importance of improved understanding and comparability of skills and qualifications at EU level, with a view to facilitating mobility;

3.  Calls on the Member States to implement processes in the framework of the 2012 Council Recommendation to ensure better understanding and comparability of skills and qualifications; suggests that any future European Skills Passport and Europass initiatives give relevance to learning acquired through formal, informal and non-formal experiences, including volunteering; recalls that volunteering provides skills that can facilitate access to the labour market;

4.  Notes that in Europe nearly 100 million citizens of all ages are volunteers, whose work contributes to the production of approximately 5 % of EU GDP; calls on the Commission to consider the economic value of goods and services provided by volunteers through more volunteer-focused policymaking;

5.  Encourages those Member States that have not yet done so to establish national voluntary service schemes and to improve access to quality information on volunteering opportunities at national and local level, in particular through existing youth information networks and peer-to-peer information, and to create national civic service hubs, which would equally promote international volunteering opportunities;

6.  Asks the Commission to consider conducting a study of different national voluntary service schemes, including civic service and solidarity corps, and the existing environment for potential volunteers among Member States, in order to facilitate mutual understanding and the dissemination of good practice;

7.  Notes the Commission’s idea of creating a new volunteering initiative, the EU Solidarity Corps; calls on the Commission to assess, first and foremost, the EU added value of such an initiative; calls on the Commission, dependent on a positive assessment of its added value, to ensure that local and national volunteer organisations are included in its design; further underlines the need to ensure that the creation and implementation of an EU Solidarity Corps does not undermine the budgets allocated for other EU programmes, nor the agreed MFF ceilings for 2014-2020;

8.  Recommends further internationalisation of the EVS programme, and proposes inviting all EFTA/EEA countries, acceding countries and candidate countries to cooperate with the EU Member States, in accordance with their association agreements and bilateral agreements with the EU; stresses the need to enhance volunteering opportunities abroad and cooperation with volunteering organisations in EU and neighbouring countries;

9.  Insists that the EVS programme should benefit the individuals and organisations involved, as well as society as a whole; stresses the importance of promoting the EVS programme to all young people, without excluding older generations, since they have an equally important additional contribution to make, for example as mentors;

10.  Stresses that the EVS should be based on quality volunteering offers that follow the Volunteering Charter and the principles of the Quality Charter on Learning Mobility, and that the EVS should be based on a structure that encourages volunteering organisations to become hosting organisations, thus providing them with adequate support and training, while strengthening the role of coordinating organisations that support a large number of hosting organisations, for example in terms of administration and training;

11.  Recalls that the EVS programme should be based on a structure that allows quick and easy access to the programme for young people; calls therefore for the streamlining and simplification of its current application system with a view to encouraging people to take up volunteering and reducing the administrative burden on charities and volunteering organisations;

12.  Stresses the need to strengthen the follow-up of volunteering experiences, particularly on return from experiences abroad, by providing support not only before departure, but also upon return to local communities, in the form of post-orientation and post-integration training; such measures should also encourage a positive feedback process to allow the sharing of experience and to encourage more people to consider volunteering opportunities;

13.  Emphasises that mentorship should be provided throughout the process by means of responsible volunteer management, noting that volunteers should also be aware of their responsibilities as regards volunteer organisations and community engagement;

14.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 17, 22.1.2010, p. 43-49.


OJ C 398, 22.12.2012, p. 1.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0549.


OJ C 332 E, 15.11.2013, p. 14.


Last updated: 20 October 2016Legal notice