The European Commission has launched a new initiative – the European Solidarity Corps. As an organisation promoting employment opportunities for young disabled people, ENIL has taken part in the process of consultation by attending meetings and submitting a written response.
The European Solidarity Corps is a new EU initiative which will provide opportunities for young people aged 18-30 to participate in projects which will benefit individuals and communities across Europe. Launched in December 2016, the European Solidarity Corps will provide expenses-paid volunteering opportunities, jobs and traineeships lasting from 2 to 12 months. The Solidarity Corps is open to young people from all EU Member States and other selected countries. Members of the Solidarity Corps can participate in projects at home or abroad. Placements will be provided by governmental organisations, NGOs and companies that engage in solidarity related activities. They will enable young people to make a positive difference to society and to put into action key values of solidarity, human rights, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and equality. Projects will cover a range of different areas including the environment, inclusion, education and health. The first projects will start in June 2017.
The Solidarity Corps is still at a consultation stage and ENIL is glad to have the chance to contribute. ENIL hopes to take part in the European Solidarity Corps, to give more young disabled people the chance to access meaningful volunteering and/or employment opportunities whilst learning about Independent Living. ENIL is clear that in order to be accessible to all young disabled people, whatever their support needs, the European Solidarity Corps must provide adequate funding for accessible housing and personal assistance which fully meets the needs of the participants. Additionally, it is of vital importance that European Solidarity Corps participants are not given placements in institutions. The EU is clear that the European Structural and Investment Funds must not be used to build or renovate institutions as they actively prevent disabled people from living independent lives. It is equally important that human resources are not allocated to institutions. ‘Solidarity’ should not be extended to institutions as this would be in contradiction of the EU’s position on institutions and would go against European Solidarity Corps values.
ENIL is looking forward to hearing the outcome of the consultation. To find out more about the European Solidarity Corps click here.
Written by Rebecca Farren