European Solidarity Corps: a new unmissable opportunity for cities!

  • environment

The European Commission has launched a brand new initiative allowing cities and municipalities to involve young European citizens to build a more inclusive and sustainable society. Cities can present project proposals on a wide range of policy areas and receive funding for their implementation.

Back in 2016, the Commission announced this political initiative. So far, European solidarity corps (ESC) represented only a parallel opportunity for public bodies and NGOs, whose financial sources were other programmes such as the Youth Guarantee, EaSI, Erasmus+, European voluntary service, and others. With the 2018 call, ESC can benefit from its own budget share, up to EUR 375.6 million for the period 2018-2020.
European Solidarity Corps is completely dedicated the youth. Its mission is that of giving new opportunities for people aged between 18 and 30 to take part in volunteering, traineeships or jobs to build a more inclusive society, supporting vulnerable people and responding to societal challenges. It has concrete international scope, favouring cross-border and multicultural projects.  
Cities cannot miss this chance!
European solidarity corps give municipalities the unique opportunity to obtain substantial funding resources to support city projects related to integration of migrants, environmental challenges, prevention of natural disasters, education and youth activities or any other kind of activities devoted to respond to societal challenges or crisis. 
The Commission can finance the work of volunteers, trainees and young workers, bringing additional human resources and capacities to support the implementation of on-going or new projects aimed at enhancing solidarity and social cohesion in the urban environment.
How to apply?
Cities and local authorities must go through two different application processes.
First of all, cities must obtain the ESC Quality label, which is an essential requirement to apply for European Solidarity Corps. In other words, cities’ project proposals will not be taken into consideration if they do not have the ESC quality label.

It certifies that an organisation participating in the European Solidarity Corps is able to ensure the necessary framework conditions for young people to take part in solidarity activities in compliance with the principles and objectives of the European Solidarity Corps.

Please note that if a municipality has already obtained in the past a European Voluntary Service (EVS) or Erasmus+ accreditations, those are considered equal to the ESC quality label.
Applications for ESC quality label are open on a continuous basis, i.e. cities can apply at any time. Moreoverthe quality labelis valid for the whole duration of the European solidarity corps programme, so until 2020.
Once obtained the ESC quality label, cities can apply for the ESC grant, either for volunteering activities, or for jobs and traineeships projects.
  • Volunteering projects are the most common type of project, which allow cities to receive the grant to implement the activities.
  • Volunteering Teams in high priority areas is a distinct project format that supports activities specifically focused on thematic priorities defined each year at the EU level
Both the programmes can last from 3 to up to 24 months.
In a nutshell, grants are essentially based on the number of participants involved in project. They cover travel expenses, project management and activities´costs, inclusion support, pocket money, linguistic support and possible exceptional costs. Moreover, the amount of the grant differs depending on the country where the receiving institution is based.
  • Jobs and traineeships with a concrete solidarity scope
For both jobs and traineeships, participants have to work on a full-time basis. They get remunerated directly by the awarded city/organisation, and the activity must include a learning and training component. 

Traineeships can last from 2 to 6 months, and in exceptional circumstances they can be renewable for 6 extra months. 

Jobs contracts must have a minimum duration of three months, with no maximum duration. Although, financial provision from European solidarity corps can last up to 12 months. It covers travel expenses, project management and activities’costs, inclusion support, pocket money, linguistic support and possible exceptional costs.
Here are the 4 main steps to take in order to complete a successful application:
  • Local authorities involved in the application must register in the Participant Portal and receive a Participant Identification Code (PIC). Those that already obtained a PIC through their participation in other EU programmes do not need to register again. The PIC obtained from this previous registration is valid also for applying under the European Solidarity Corps; 
  • check the compliance with the criteria for the relevant Action; 
  • check the financial conditions (only applicable to requests for funding, not relevant for Quality Label); 
  • fill in and submit the application form.
Project proposals are then assessed by the National authorities or Executive Agencies receiving the application, exclusively on the basis of the ESC criteria.
Applicants have to submit their grant application by 16 OCTOBER 2018 at 12:00 (Brussels time) for projects starting between 1 January and 31 May of the following year.
The only exception concerns volunteering team projects in high priority areas, whose deadline is on 18 February 2018.
European solidarity corps initiative represents a truly unique opportunity that cities must not miss: to build a fairer society, more inclusive urban areas, to give the young the chance to grow humanly and professionally.
To reach all these goals, WE NEED CITIES!
For all the details, please check the European solidarity corps guide.
The official calls, available in all the EU languages, can be found here.
Moreover you can find attached a comprehensive briefing about the initiative and the call for proposal.
   ESC_call_2018download/preview this file

EUROCITIES staff contact

Bianca Faragau-TavaresSenior policy advisor