EU Aid Volunteers: Commission Proposes a New Global Humanitarian Initiative

Two ECHO@20 members at a Red Cross event(c) Solferino, Italy 2012 (c) Italian Red Cross / Ibrahim MallaBrussels, 19 September 2012 – Today, the European Commission revealed its plans for a global initiative which will offer some 10,000 people the opportunity to volunteer worldwide in humanitarian operations over the period 2014-2020.

Due to increasing numbers of natural and man-made disasters around the world, humanitarian organisations (will) need more well-prepared people to support them in helping disaster-struck communities.

Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: “Through their actions in the field and on the ground EU Aid Volunteers will demonstrate our European solidarity by helping those most in need. And they will at the same time learn invaluable skills. Saving lives is a life-changing experience that they will never forget.”

How will it work?

The Commission proposes to develop European standards for managing volunteers in humanitarian projects, and a professional training programme to prepare volunteers for deployment.

The EU Aid Volunteers initiative will be implemented in close cooperation with certified humanitarian organisations that adhere to the European standards, which will in turn identify suitable humanitarian projects and apply for EU grants to deploy EU Aid Volunteers.

EU Aid Volunteers will be trained in multinational groups and will be examined after the training as to their readiness to be deployed. A network of volunteers will be created, so they can interact with and support each other before, during and after deployment.

The proposed initiative also includes training for 7,000 local staff and volunteers of organisations in countries hit by disasters where the EU Aid Volunteers will work. Furthermore, another 10,000 people are expected to support volunteers in the field through online volunteering.

Who can become an EU Aid Volunteer?

EU Aid Volunteers have to be over 18 years of age and citizens or long-term residents in the EU and certain other European countries.

Candidates can be newcomers who want to gain experience in the humanitarian sector, and experts or retired citizens who want to help out with their specialist knowledge.

cinema32x32 DblueWatch here the experience of two pilot volunteers


The proposal includes a budget of €239.1 million that would be used for an extensive training package (€58 million), deployment (€137 million), capacity building in communities hit by disasters (€35 million) and supporting activities.


The European Voluntary Corps is one of the Lisbon Treaty’s innovations. Preparation of the scheme began in 2011 with wide public consultations, two waves of pilot projects and some 200 pilot volunteers already deployed. The Commission will use the lessons from these projects and work in close cooperation with humanitarian organisations to prepare the launch of EU Aid Volunteers in January 2014.

Source: European Commission’s Press Release

Useful links

EU Aid Volunteers web page
EU Aid Volunteers factsheet
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps – EU Aid Volunteers
Commissioner Georgieva’s website
Commissioner Georgieva’s announcement at the Daily Commission press briefing

Tagged under