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Friday, 17 June 2011

The pilot European Volunteers Corps is launched

The European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid is one big step closer to reality - its pilot phase was launched in Budapest today, at a conference organised by the European Commission and the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union. Inspired by the vision for the Corps set out in the Treaty of Lisbon, building on a thorough review of existing volunteering schemes, and taking into account stakeholders’ recommendations, the European Commission is now starting the practical implementation of the initiative - by selecting, training and deploying the first team of European humanitarian volunteers. In the pilot phase, the first European humanitarian volunteers will undergo extensive training, which will allow them and the Corps to develop the right toolbox of skills to effectively assist communities in humanitarian risk, while fostering local capacities among aid-receiving communities. Later in 2011, the volunteers will start working in third countries through three pilot projects (see MEMO/11/413). European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva said: "The pilot projects will give us a clear blueprint to move forward. We have two goals - first, to create an exciting opportunity for Europeans to make a difference in the world, and second, to bring collective value to individuals’ willingness to volunteer in the humanitarian area. I am excited that the European citizens’ solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people will now have its first ambassadors - our volunteers”. The pilot projects aim to test the ideas and concepts explored in the course of public consultations: how can European volunteers best complement the NGOs' work, and how can they bring real value to the people who rely on Europe’s solidarity around the world? Security has been the top priority in the design of pilot projects, and the choice of settings in which to deploy volunteers. Security is also the underlying principle for the future full-fledged European Humanitarian Corps.

Source: European Commission