Parliament seeks to facilitate cross-border volunteering
By Sophie Petitjean | Tuesday 12 June 2012
The European Parliament is encouraging the member states to set national targets for volunteering since this activity – an enterprise carried out voluntarily and freely, without consideration for financial profit – facilitates the social and professional integration of Europeans.
In a non-legislative resolution, adopted on 12 June, MEPs call on “those member states which do not have a clear or adequate legal framework for volunteers to put one in place and to draw up national strategies to promote the growth of volunteering activities, including the recognition of the rights of volunteers, and to ensure quality, protection and equal access for everyone, without discrimination, particularly in terms of adequate access to health and social protection”.
According to the European Commission’s data, 100 million European citizens work in various voluntary activities. They contribute to the production of 5% of European GDP. With this in mind, MEPs back the Commission’s proposal to establish a ‘European skills passport’, and propose that a centralised EU portal be created, allowing for an exchange of information on administrative burdens, the legal and fiscal aspects of volunteering, barriers encountered in accessing programmes and the best ways to tackle them. Furthermore, MEPs call on the Commission to propose a mechanism to allow member states wishing to strengthen civil society to exempt from VAT all or most of the activities and transactions carried out by voluntary non-profit-making organisations; and stress that at least the smaller non-profit-making organisations should be covered by such a mechanism.