This week the Association of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) and the EU Office for Catholic Youth Work and Adult Education submitted amendments on the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). The ESC is a new volunteer programe currently being negotiated by the EU-Institutions. The Solidarity Corps is scheduled to replace the European Volunteer Service in spring 2018.

By 2020 the European Commission plans to send 100.000 young people aged 17 to 30 to volunteer placements all over Europe. To implement this ambitious goal, the Commission intends to invest € 340 million. BDKJ and the EU office welcome the increased attention on youth policies. Despite the underlying positive ideas, the legislative proposal, currently being negotiated in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU requires urgent improvements on a number of key issues. The mixing of a volunteer programe with labour market policy instruments endangers labour market neutrality which is an essential element of volunteer programs since the 1950s. The occupational strand foreseen in the regulatory proposal also risks sidelining the well established focus on personal development and guidance provision. Due to these reasons BDKJ and the EU Office have decided to contribute to the ongoing legislative procedure.