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Young volunteers — mobility within the EU



Recommendation — mobility of young volunteers across the EU


  • It seeks to encourage European Union (EU) countries to promote the international mobility of young volunteers.
  • It provides a system of more intensive cooperation between EU countries, on the basis of which new opportunities for mobility may be created.


  • This recommendation sets up a system of cooperation for EU countries designed to encourage cross-border voluntary activities for young people*. It does so with due respect for the diversity of the EU countries’ own national volunteering schemes.
  • Voluntary activities provide young people with a non-formal educational* and informal learning*experience. This helps to develop their professional and social skills, so increasing their chances of getting jobs and becoming active citizens and promoting their social inclusion. Volunteering offers young people a sense of purpose and responsibility, and gives them a structure in their lives.
  • The recommendation urges EU countries to strengthen cooperation among voluntary organisations and public authorities involved in organising voluntary activities, in order to promote the mobility of young volunteers throughout Europe. It recommends that EU countries take action for example to:
    • make more information available about national voluntary activities;
    • improve the access to information about cross-border voluntary activities for all those involved;
    • make it easier for young volunteers to access cross-border voluntary activities, in particular by simplifying the procedures;
    • developopportunities for these activities through a flexible approach, taking into consideration aspects such as
      • hosting capacities;
      • establishment of contacts among volunteers;
      • use of European mobility mechanisms (e.g. European Youth Card);
      • mobility of youth workers*; and
      • training of those active in youth work;
    • promote the development of intercultural abilities and language learning to make mobility across borders easier;
    • support the development of self-assessment tools so that voluntary organisations may ensure the quality of their cross-border activities;
    • exchange information and cooperate with each other in order to assure the social and legal protection of volunteers;
    • promote the recognition of volunteers’ learning experience through the use of national and European level qualification instruments, such as Europass, Youthpass and the European Qualifications Framework;
    • promote the participation of young people with fewer opportunities in cross-border voluntary activities.
  • The recommendation endorses European Commission support for EU countries’ actions relating to the above. This support is by means of the EU cooperation framework in the youth field, the open method of coordination, as well as the European Voluntary Service which is funded by the Erasmus+ programme. Lastly, a European Youth Volunteer Portal disseminates information to all stakeholders.


For more information, see:


Cross-border voluntary activities: activities open to all young people, undertaken of their own free will in the general interest, for a sustained period, within a clear system, in a country other than their country of residence, unpaid or with token payment and/or covering of expenses.

Non-formal education: organised education led by a qualified teacher or leader. It does not result in a formal qualification. It helps build an individual’s skills and capacities, e.g. continuing education courses for adults and scouts for children.

Informal learning: no curriculum and no qualifications earned. The teacher is simply someone more qualified than the learner, e.g. a babysitter helping a child learn to read.

Youth worker: individuals who guide and support young people in their personal, social and educational development.


Council recommendation of 20 November 2008 on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union (OJ C 319, 13.12.2008, pp. 8–10)


Council conclusions on language competences to enhance mobility (OJ C 372, 20.12.2011, pp. 27–30)

Council conclusions on a benchmark for learning mobility (OJ C 372, 20.12.2011, pp. 31–35)

last update 17.01.2017