2011, EUROPEAN YEAR OF VOLUNTEERING
Brussels, January 10 – The European Union will this year celebrate all those who care for others, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament having declared 2011 European Year in favour of voluntary activities for the promotion of active citizenship.
The adoption of this decision represents a strong political commitment from Member States but is also the culmination of a very active voluntary sector campaign. All the European countries have been mobilized to respond to the programme developed by the European Commission focused on two objectives: celebrating volunteers and promoting forms of voluntary work.
More than 100 million Europeans participate in voluntary work of some kind, putting into practice the principle of solidarity and thereby making a significant contribution to society. Volunteering and voluntary work cover a wide range of concepts, definitions and traditions.
This “European Year” has been given a substantial 8 million euro budget in addition to ongoing EU funds for this sector.
During the European Year of Volunteering, the EU will promote the establishment of hundreds of activities and projects in different countries (www.europa.eu / volunteer).
In particular a 2011 Tour will encourage volunteer groups to travel around EU countries for a year, presenting their work and meeting with political representatives and citizens as they go.
The world of sport includes early examples, such as the CNOSF, the French NOC, which has encouraged every club, league, federation and sports authority to seize this opportunity to highlight and promote voluntary work with special events. The CNOSF, with its “young leaders commission, has created an awareness programme to help sports organizations engage volunteers. The sports world is invited to participate at the official launch of this European Year in France, from February 7 to 13.