European Solidarity Corps 2024 Annual Work Programme: Fostering Global Engagement and Youth Empowerment
The European Solidarity Corps, launched in 2016 and bolstered by a dedicated regulation in 2018, has become a cornerstone of the EU’s commitment to solidarity and youth empowerment. With a budget exceeding EUR 1 billion for 2021-2027, the Corps has expanded its focus to include volunteering in humanitarian aid, addressing global challenges.
Boasting a quarter-million registered youth by 2020, the Corps goes beyond community impact. It equips participants with vital skills for navigating a dynamic world. Aligned with the EU Youth Strategy, the Corps is more than a volunteer initiative; it’s a bridge connecting youthful aspirations with global needs, fostering socially conscious and globally engaged citizens.
Empowering Youth Globally: The European Solidarity Corps and EU Youth Strategy
The European Solidarity Corps, a linchpin of the EU’s commitment to solidarity and youth empowerment, is strategically embedded within the framework of European cooperation in the youth field. At the heart of EU youth policy, the Corps aligns with the renewed Youth Strategy, emphasising active citizenship, solidarity, and positive change inspired by EU values and a shared European identity.
A pivotal aspect of the Youth Strategy is found in the ‘Connect’ priority area, where the Commission aims to expand mobility actions under the Corps. This entails not only bolstering mobility but also supporting implementation through robust policy cooperation and community-building activities. The indicative budget for the 2024 European Solidarity Corps work programme stands at EUR 145,000,000, a crucial financing decision per the regulations governing the Union’s general budget.
Policy Priorities and Strategic Focus
In its mission to empower young people and promote solidarity, the European Solidarity Corps outlines comprehensive policy priorities for the 2024 work programme. These priorities align with broader EU strategies such as the European Education Area, the Digital Education Action Plan, and the European Democracy Action Plan, emphasizing a gender equality perspective in line with the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-25.
Inclusion and Diversity
The Corps actively addresses inclusion and diversity, promoting social inclusion, tolerance, human rights, and the value of differences. A comprehensive strategy supports organizations in reaching participants with fewer opportunities, ensuring equal access. The thematic SALTO Resource Centre for Inclusion and Diversity enhances the inclusive implementation of the programme.
Environmental Sustainability and Climate Goals
The Corps contributes to climate and biodiversity goals by prioritizing the green transition and promoting eco-friendly practices in projects. In line with the European Green Deal, the Corps supports initiatives for environmental conservation, awareness, and resilience to extreme weather events. The thematic green SALTO Resource Centre enhances the green dimension of the programme.
In response to the EU’s emphasis on digital leadership, the Corps aims to support Europeans in thriving in the digital age. Projects and activities focus on improving digital skills, fostering digital literacy, and understanding the risks and opportunities of digital technology. The thematic digital SALTO Resource Centre ensures high-quality and inclusive implementation of the digital dimension.
Participation in Democratic Life
At the core of the Corps is the promotion of European common values, civic engagement, and strengthening European identity. Activities aim to engage youth in democratic processes, including European elections, and uphold EU values and human rights. The thematic SALTO Resource Centre for Participation & Information supports high-quality and inclusive implementation.
Annual Policy Priorities: Addressing Urgent Needs
The 2024 work programme emphasizes specific annual policy priorities:
- Relief for Persons Fleeing Conflicts and Disasters
The Corps plays a crucial role in providing relief and assistance to those affected by armed conflicts and disasters. Recent events, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, underscore the importance of solidarity in times of crisis.
- Fostering Positive Learning for Vulnerable Youth
The Corps supports learning outcomes for young people with fewer opportunities, aligning with the European Year of Skills and reinforcing the legacy of the European Year of Youth.
Broader Focus Areas: Health and Innovation
Beyond annual priorities, the Corps actively supports initiatives related to health and mental well-being, aligning with the HealthyLifeStyle4All. It also promotes innovation, mobilizing young people to contribute innovative solutions to societal challenges, such as rural depopulation and sustainable energy systems.
The European Solidarity Corps in 2024 emerges not only as a platform for youth engagement but as a dynamic force aligning with EU strategies, addressing pressing global issues, and nurturing a generation of socially conscious and innovative citizens.
Calls for Proposals: Guiding Participation
Calls for proposals, both general and specific, are issued by the Commission or the Executive Agency, aligning with Financial Regulation Article 189(1). The annual general call for proposals, accompanied by the Programme Guide, serves as a comprehensive resource outlining project objectives, requirements, and application procedures.
- Direct and Indirect Management: Diverse Implementation Channels
Actions are implemented through direct and indirect management. National Agencies handle indirect management, while direct management grants are awarded by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
- Flexible Grant Awarding: Swift Responses to Needs
Grant awards, including those without a formal call for proposals as permitted by Article 195 of the Financial Regulation, showcase the Corps’ adaptability in addressing emerging challenges.
- Navigating 2024 Initiatives: Future Calls and Grants
Part II of the work programme details upcoming calls for proposals and grants, providing clarity for potential beneficiaries. The selection criteria outlined in the Programme Guide will guide the evaluation and awarding process for all grants under the European Solidarity Corps.