European Parliament adopts written declaration urging 2011 to be the European Year on Volunteering

MEPs have adopted a written declaration in which they call on the European Commission to announce 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering. The European Parliament has pointed out that there are more than 100 million Europeans of all ages, beliefs and nationalities who volunteer.

In order for a written declaration to be adopted, over half all the 785 MEPs have to have signed it. In this case some 416 MEPs have signed it. The written declaration was initially put forward by Marian Harkin MEP (ALDE, IE), Gisela Kallenbach MEP (Greens/EFA, DE), Emmanouil Angelakas MEP (EPP-ED, GR), Mieczys³aw Edmund Jjanowski MEP (UEN, PL) and Joel Hasse Ferreira MEP (PES, PT).

In 2006, a Eurobarometer survey revealed that 3 out of 10 Europeans are active in a voluntary capacity and that close to 80% of respondents felt that voluntary activities are an important part of democratic life in Europe. The Declaration states that the voluntary sector contributes an estimated 5% to the GDP of national economies and develops innovative actions to detect, voice and respond to needs arising in society,

AGE members have been active in lobbying MEPs to support this Declaration. AGE has also joined efforts with other organisations representing millions of volunteers who have called jointly on the European Institutions to announce 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering.

AGE and its members welcome the adoption of this Declaration and send their congratulations to the European Parliament on this significant step. They urge the Commission to take up this call to announce 2011 as the European Year on Volunteering which would help recognise the contribution that volunteers of all ages make to the societies in which they live.

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