Minister Beatriz Artolazabal: "the Basque Government proposes the initiative of countries and regions in the European Solidarity Corps"
Brussels: Euskadi's proactive participation in the European initiative led by President Jean Claude Juncker
- "The European Solidarity Corps is in line with the Basque Voluntary Strategy and the Cooperative Basque Youth Program,
Brussels 12 04 17
In line with the actions that the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has included in the current legislature in the field of cooperation and youth, the Basque Government has proposed to the European institutions and partners the strengthening and Launching of the European Solidarity Corps from the role of countries and regions, as well as the linking of the European Solidarity Corps with the actions and initiatives coordinated by the Basque Government.
"The European Solidarity Corps, projected by the European Commission, is in line with the activities carried out within the Basque Volunteer Strategy that are being developed these days with the participation of about 280 people from various social organizations and the Program itself of Cooperative Basque Youth, among others " has commented the Minister of Employment and Social Policies Beatriz Artolazabal.
The European Solidarity Corps is a key and strategic initiative to promote/guarantee the solidarity and the EU values between our citizens and young people, and an opportunity for a better articulation concerning actions and others Volunteer and Solidarity Corps lead by European regions. The Communication COM (2016) 942 final from the Commission about European Solidarity Corps need to clarify more the regional authorities role.
Our position and suggestions concerning the European Solidarity Corps:
1. Regarding the occupational strand, the synergies between the activities in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps, on the one hand, and the Youth Guarantee, the Youth Employment Initiative and the European Social Fund, on the other hand, to stimulate youth employment should be highlighted in order to no duplicate the actions already funded by those programs. Furthermore, the added value offered by the European Solidarity Corps to promote jobs, apprenticeships or traineeships for young people should be clarified in the future Commission’s proposal.
2. Clarify the role of the regional and local authorities: we suggest the need to put in place a mapping with the already Reginal Solidarity Corps lead by regional services of employment (some regions have their own competencies) and Regional (Regional Governments) Cooperation Agencies and others international actions (UN Volunteer Programme, UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, etc). For example: the Basque Government have their own agreements with UN Agencies with shorts and long term volunteer positions, and International grants (grants abroad enterprises/businesses), and 3 months volunteer positions at development cooperation projects (finance by Basque Cooperation Agency) outside Europe, under a Basque Volunteer Corps.
It is key to have a well-defined role for the local and regional authorities. Not only as far as the dissemination of information in our region is concerned, that could lead to many more young people joining this initiative and more companies, organisations (NGOs, etc) and public authorities involved, but also in order to set up the appropriate infrastructures necessary to implement the initiative at regional level and the ex-ante training lessons- sessions/”tool kits” before to take part at the long and short term volunteer engagements, and the monitoring and evaluation process.
3. Given that the majority of volunteering projects are developed at the local or regional level is would be better to split the initiative in the two different sides: on the one hand, the new projects/proposals (country to country projects) suggest by the organisations under the ESC; and, on the other hand, to promote the already existing regional and local projects, especially the interregional cooperation,
4. It is urgent a connection/implication of the current regions external actions services and at regional levels, to not to duplicate the actions with others European regional volunteer corps. Regarding the diffusion of the information about this European initiative, not only to the citizenship but also to companies, organisations and stakeholders. They could contribute with their already gained experience managing the job or volunteering offers and requests as they have been doing regarding their competences on employment services.
5. Accreditation procedures and screening (with a common procedure) and common training sessions/tool kit for young volunteers and organisations under the ESC: The regions can have a key role too, but a common procedure is urgent to clarify concerning the screening of the enterprises, organisations, etc. A training session and a tool kit about the EU solidarity dimension and the concrete
project (that is taking part) is need before the volunteer engagement. They are better placed than the national or European public authorities to know the needs of the local communities, companies and young citizens, and which organizations have already dealt with projects similar to the ones that will be run by the European Solidarity Corps.
6. Check the local, national or European communities’ needs in order to adapt the participants’ skills and capacities for developing the projects, and for participants to improve their capacities and learn new skills. The project must be a value for the community where is developed but also for the person that will take part of it.