Removing obstacles to cross-border solidarity activities

One of the key European policy initiatives supporting cross-border solidarity activities was the Council Recommendation of 20 November 2008 on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union. The Recommendation affirmed the role of solidarity activities, including cross-border solidarity activities, in developing professional and transferable skills and employability, as well as raising cultural awareness and the notion of active citizenship among young people in Europe. The work plan for the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2021 includes a review of the 2008 Council Recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union (during the second half of 2020) and the establishment of an Expert Group on the subject.

This mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) study supported the review of the Council Recommendation, by complementing the work of the Expert Group. The key objectives of the study were therefore:

-            to review and assess the implementation of the 2008 Council Recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union;

-            to map and analyse existing regulatory and administrative frameworks, as well as to support policies in relation to solidarity activities, including complementarities between national schemes and the European Solidarity Corps programme and any legal, administrative and practical barriers that prevent young people from fully participating in the European Solidarity Corps;

-            to identify possible ways and areas for further reinforced cooperation, and to provide an evidence-based assessment of their expected impact; and

-            to formulate concrete policy recommendations to feed any possible review of the Council Recommendation.

The study was informed by evidence gathered and analysed using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. These included extensive desk research and the mapping of information at country level, resulting in the preparation of 28 country fiches; analysis of administrative and monitoring data on European Solidarity Corps projects and the Commission’s survey of European Voluntary Service participants; interviews with officials from the EC, stakeholders at EU level, National Agencies and National Authorities, as well as representatives of the schemes/projects selected for good-practice case studies; a survey of organisations that hold the European Solidarity Corps Quality Label or are accredited under Erasmus+ youth volunteering. In addition, five good-practice case studies were prepared and a workshop with the Expert Group on the mobility of young volunteers and cross-border solidarity was organised in Brussels to discuss the study’s findings and to support the development of study recommendations.

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