Positive outcome of European Parliament vote on 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering

The European Parliament has voted on improvements to organisational aspects of 2011 European Year of Volunteering which will result in greater support for active citizenship. Please see below the message from Marjan Harkin MEP on the European Parliament’s vote in support of the 2011 European Year on Volunteering. The budget for the year has now been proposed as 10 million euro and the EP has also voted for an extra one million for preparatory actions during 2010.

Here are two quotes from the discussion in the EP’s Culture and Education Committee’s Extraordinary meeting on 23 November in Strasbourg on the European Year of Volunteering 2011:

“More than one million people in Europe engage in active citizenship through volunteering, thus strengthening their social and professional skills. Lowering administrative barriers helps individuals and organizations to focus on their core activities, making a more effective impact and contribution to European societies” declared Marietje Schaake MEP (D66, Pays-Bas), Shadow rapporteur for ALDE on the Culture Committee. “Volunteers foster participation within European societies as well as engagement with third countries, thus contributing to Europe’s position in the world and the fight against poverty. The European Parliament encourages participation by all individuals including refugees and asylum seekers.”

“This European year of volunteering is an opportunity to be seized to promote better exchange of experiences and best practice. In addition to its social role, volunteering presents an economic value and it contributes notably to the economy. It was also agreed to promote the recognition of time given up by volunteers to be considered as co-financing of European projects” insisted Marian Harkin MEP (Independent, Ireland) rapporteur of the opinion for the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, who introduced this idea through her own initiative report adopted by the European Parliament in 2008. “It is for this purpose that we have given it a budget of 10 million euros and clarified the rules of co-financing by Member States”
Many thanks to AGE members for their support and lobbying efforts towards achieving this outcome.

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