Employment and Social Affairs Council : Ministers Discuss Role of Volunteering in Social Cohesion
The Employment and Social Affairs Council supports volunteering activities, which must clearly be distinguished from paid employment and must never be considered interchangeable. Meeting in Luxembourg on 3 October, the ministers adopted two sets of conclusions.
The first set of conclusions(1) recognises that volunteering activities can contribute to the development of active citizenship, democracy and social cohesion, and must therefore be encouraged. Thus, ministers call on the EU to support volunteering activities, adding that these "can not replace the overall responsibility of the state to ensure and provide economic, social and cultural rights".
The conclusions, entitled The role of voluntary activities in social policy', call on member states to encourage online volunteering as an innovative form of volunteering, and to mobilise the potential of persons experiencing exclusion. The Commission is also asked to consider, if need be, putting in place volunteering activities as part of programmes implemented within the framework of the cohesion policy. The Commission is also called on to look into solutions that would allow volunteer activities to contribute to projects receiving financial assistance from the EU and to put in place mechanisms that would allow an appropriate assessment of volunteering activities.
The second set of conclusions(2) relates to the management of demographic challenges by combining family life and working life better. …