What is the European Solidarity Corps?

The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is a funding programme of the European Union that creates opportunities for young people to volunteer and run their own solidarity projects that benefit communities around Europe. It was announced by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his annual State of the European Union speech in September 2016, and officially launched in 2018. Based on the success of this initiative, the European Solidarity Corps continues its activities for the new programming period 2021-2027.

The European Commission works with National Agencies to manage the European Solidarity Corps. The Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation has been designated as the Hellenic National Agency of this programme.

The objective of the Programme is to enhance the engagement of young people and organisations in accessible and high-quality solidarity activities, as a means to strengthen cohesion, solidarity, democracy, European identity and active citizenship in the Union and beyond, addressing societal and humanitarian challenges on the ground, with a particular focus on the promotion of sustainable development, social inclusion and equal opportunities. By supporting others, such as vulnerable people of societies, young people put EU values into practice and also gain skills and experience, including language skills that can be valuable in finding a job or their further training and development.

  • What are the priorities of the programming period 2021-2027?

The new European Solidarity Corps supports the European Union’s political priorities and engages both organisations and young people in projects to help support them. Particularly, the programme:

  • Promotes inclusion and diversity, and aims to provide all young people with equal access to European Solidarity Corps opportunities.
  • Aims to adopt green practices across all projects and activities, as well as to promote environmentally-sustainable and responsible behaviour among both participants and organisations.
  • Contributes to the digital transition by supporting projects and activities that work to boost digital skills, foster digital literacy, and develop an understanding of the risks and opportunities of digital technology.
  • Promotes civic engagement and the participation of young people in democratic processes.
  • The programme provides the flexibility to add annual priorities, thus contributing to unforeseen challenges such as addressing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and recovery from it, particularly in the area of health prevention and support. The programme can mobilise volunteers to support projects addressing various health challenges.
  • What activities does the European Solidarity Corps support?

After completing a simple registration process, participants could be selected to join a wide range of projects. These projects will be run by organisations which have been checked and authorised to run European Solidarity Corps projects. The European Solidarity Corps gives you the opportunity to carry out solidarity and volunteer projects.

Solidarity Projects are activities of a duration of 2 to 12 months.  They are initiated, developed and implemented by young people themselves in national level. It gives a group of minimum 5 young people aged from 18 to 30 years old, the chance to express solidarity by taking responsibility and committing themselves to bring positive change in their local community. Participation in a solidarity project is an important non-formal learning experience through which young people can boost their personal, educational and social development.

Volunteering projects offer opportunities for young people aged 18 to 30 years old to take part in activities and help to address identified needs within local communities covering a wide range of areas, such as inclusion and diversity, sustainability and environmental protection. Volunteering may take place in a country other than the country of residence of the participant (cross-border) or in the country of residence of the participant (in-country). Young people can volunteer individually or in teams and activities can last up to 12 months.

Regarding volunteering projects, obtaining a Quality Label is a precondition for the participation of an organization. Quality Label is a process that certifies that an organisation is able and willing to carry out high quality volunteering activities in compliance with the principles, objectives and quality standards of the European Solidarity Corps, as mentioned in the Programme Guide. Applications can be submitted on a continuous basis.


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