The European Parliament steps forward for the improvement of volunteering

Recently, the European Parliament voted a report written by the rapporteur Marco Scurria, on “volunteering and voluntary activity in Europe”, where the objectives for this institution are established.

The European Parliament expresses  concern about the follow up to the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV) and the implementation of the ILO Manual, a guide about recognition of volunteering, by Member States. EYV set some objectives that now the European Parliament encourages to promote:

  1. Creating an enabling environment for voluntary activities;
  2. enhancing the quality of voluntary activities by empowering organisers of such activities;
  3. giving due recognition to voluntary activities;
  4. raising public awareness of the importance of voluntary activities.

AEGEE welcomes these considerations and remembers that, as it is established in its position paper approved in Fall Agora Zaragoza 2013 about Recognition of Volunteering, the active participation of all groups in society is crucial to maintain the quality of the democratic life. Because of this, volunteer activities should be valuated as a real and valorised experience.

With this report, the European Parliament refreshes the goals already established at the EYV and encourages all the institutions involved to continue working to achieve the improvement of the volunteering situation in Europe.

The report proves that the situation of volunteering in European society is something that matters not only to European organizations such as AEGEE, but it is also a topic to be debated by relevant European institutions. Volunteering has a major impact in order to provide young people with competences and attitudes actually needed in the job market, as well as in the society. This is shown by the research done by the European Youth Forum on the impact of Youth Organizations in providing skills needed in the job market. Due to this understanding, volunteering should be supported as a factor of European integration and self development.

We see that there is a lack of precision in the ways to achieve the goals established in EYV and confirmed now. We take this report as a first step towards the development of real actions and accomplishment of the objectives

AEGEE also celebrates the optimism showed over the introduction of the European Skills Passport as a tool to provide “a comprehensive picture of volunteers’ skills to enable them to be officially recognized for both employment and learning purposes”. Therefore, we are looking forward to see that the implementation of the European Skills Passport is done according to the higher standards.

Written by Pablo Hernández, Policy Officer in Youth Participation