On the 7 December 2016, the European Commission officially launched its new European Solidarity Corps, a new initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe. Autism-Europe was present at the event to disseminate information about its activities.
European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva officially launched the initiative with Commissioner Thyssen and Solidarity Corps Ambassadors. Key stakeholders, including Autism-Europe, were part of this occasion by displaying information and providing documentation.
European Solidarity Corps projects will be available to people between the ages of 18 and 30 years old. The Commission has outlined work with persons with disabilities as being an area the programme will focus on.
Throughout 2017, organisations across Europe will be invited to propose projects lasting anywhere between two to twelve months. The organisations can also be of all sizes, from big multinational companies to a small NGO working in a local community.
To be eligible, these organisations must run solidarity related projects. The European Commission will invite organisations to apply for funding or other support for projects which fit with the Mission and Principles of the European Solidarity Corps. After their projects are approved, these organisations will be able to access the pool of participants to select young people that could be best suited to join the project. The organisations will then contact the potential recruits and make a final choice.
All organisations will undergo checks to become accredited to run projects for the European Solidarity Corps, and before they are allowed to search for and recruit participants for their projects. Organisations must also adhere to the Charter of the European Solidarity Corps.