Wednesday, November 24, 2010

EU: Commission proposes the creation of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps

Source: European Union (EU)

Date: 23 Nov 2010

Today the European Commission adopted a Communication to set up the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, as foreseen by the Treaty of Lisbon. This policy paper examines volunteering in Europe, lays out the needs of such volunteering Corps, and details the conditions for the Corps to make a positive contribution to Europe's humanitarian operations.

"The Corps will enable Europeans to express their commitment to our solidarity, and to work together as citizens of the EU. By helping people affected by disasters, we have the opportunity to contribute to a more cohesive European society." stated Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

The European Voluntary Corps will add value to existing voluntary schemes through selection, training and deployment of volunteers.

It will have strong synergies with existing voluntary organisations and structures. In order to avoid duplication and funding diversion, the Corps will be demand-driven and needs-based, and will support local capacities.

The Commission has already started consultations with stakeholders. An open consultation will formally be launched by the end of the year.

The Commission will continue to analyse the opportunities and the possible forms of cooperation with relevant actors. It will also carry out an impact assessment of the cost-effectiveness and social impact of the areas in which the Corps can act.

In 2011, the European year of volunteering, some of the ideas identified so far will be tested through pilot actions. A legislative proposal is envisaged for the year after.