Left MEPs have condemned a rapporteur in the Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee (CULT) for caving into a rival committee’s demands that support Jean-Claude Juncker’s vision to neoliberlise and monetise the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), thus betraying the original ethos of voluntary work in the EU.

Launched by Juncker in his State of the Union address back in 2016, the ESC is supposed to encouraging young people into volunteering, jobs and  training that ‘promote solidarity’ in their home countries or abroad.

However, his plans include a portion of the €341 million three-year budget being set aside for organisations to provide ‘placements’ for the applicants.

GUE/NGL’s shadow in the CULT committee, Curzio Maltese, is disappointed with the negotiations handled by his colleagues on the committee and also the way forward:

“Junker's Commission is using the word ‘solidarity’ to create an unbalanced mix of volunteering programmes and underpaid work schemes.”

“This is not only immoral but a completely wrong political idea that will open the door to profit-making companies and won't help the network of solidarity associations that are working in Europe. These schemes should ought to be supported with more funding – but the European Solidarity Corps is akin to a marketing operation.”

Portuguese MEP João Pimenta also expressed his anger at the EU’s new definition for the concept of ‘solidarity’:

“The European Solidarity Corps’ is a scam for the expectations and future of young people. The EU subverts solidarity by turning it into a policy of poverty, exclusion, unemployment and more precariousness.”

“We need real solidarity through investing in public services and decent work – not another EU cosmetic exercise!,” he said.

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