We are seeking to increase the number of young people in European mobility, through civic service, in order to strengthen the feeling of European belonging and the culture of commitment for the greatest number.
The key point is to democratize the experience abroad. We therefore believe in the relevance of offering young people the opportunity to do an experience in their home country, allowing them to be prepared for a civic experience in another Member State. The objective is to allow all profiles to project themselves into European civic mobility, through a gradual process (starting with a preparation stage at home). For many, going abroad is an overly ambitious first step.
A transversal approach: interstate, associative, European.
European mobility achieved through civic engagement faces several challenges. On one hand, the existing mechanisms (in particular the European Solidarity Corps) still mainly affect only the most educated, privileged or informed young people. On the other hand, these systems face a lack of coordination with national civic services, whose developments in a number of states are however very dynamic (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium). A convergence therefore appears advisable.
A more institutionalized cooperation would allow the strengthening of European mobility by the convergence of both national and European mechanisms
National civic services are a natural lever for strengthening European mobility. A national stage, prior to departure in another Member State, provides both the framework and the time for learning, particularly on linguistics, which really makes it possible to open mobility to all.
In addition, the full mobilization of national systems in the service of European mobility, in addition to European systems could possibly, with constant public budgets, finance up to 350,000 additional european mobilities per year, making mobility an essential step in any national civic service (against a current ESC objective of 50,000 / year). This could be done by moving to another country, or simply by working at home alongside volunteers from other Member States.
A more integrated cooperation between national civic services, involving the European Commission and the ESC, around the exchange of good practices and the convergence of mechanisms, would be a significant step towards achieving this objective.
This cooperation must be based on concrete experimental initiatives at local and at European levels.
Our approach has always been to demonstrate operationally the relevance of our system to reach a greater diversity of young people and bring them towards European mobility. We are seeking to establish a European network in this area and a model that can then be extended to the whole EU.
We are thus testing our project based on an experiment launched in September 2020 in the “Greater Region” (Saar, Rhineland, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Wallonia, Brussels, German-speaking regions of Belgium). It has enabled 6 months of civic service, followed by 6 months of ECS, relying on a network of leading associative partners.
We thus wish to demonstrate that the mechanism based on the complementarity between national / European experience is functional and relevant, and to promote this kind of experience to all young Europeans.
A pilot project at European level to act on an institutional framework making the synergy of the existing
One way of better coordinating existing mechanisms would be to promote a common legal framework, which does not currently exist.
The pilot project of the European Parliament that we are leading achieves this objective: by structuring for the first time, as already stated in the strategic objectives of the ECS instrument, a very complementary convergence of national civic services with the European Solidarity Corps
The success of carrying out such a pilot project would make it possible by:
Articulating the existing national civic services with the European Solidarity Corps through the dual experience that we offer
Allowing, within the framework of the European Solidarity Corps, and through this pilot project, the combination of national experience with the experience in another Member State, in countries which do not yet have national civic services. This would promote the dissemination of national civic service mechanisms.