Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has expressed her concern with European Commission proposals for a new voluntary service.
The Ireland South MEP said the replacing of the European Voluntary Service (EVS) with the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) puts too much of an emphasis on private interests.
“The European Commission announced the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) initiative in December 2016 following President Juncker’s speech on the State of the Union,” she said.
“The main objective of the concept is to build solidarity for the European project through inviting young people aged 18-30 to partake in volunteering activities which would have a benefit on communities across Europe.
“Hpowever, there is already a similar programme in place, the European Voluntary Service, which has a proven record of success.
“The European Voluntary Service (EVS) helps young people to travel abroad and participate in volunteering projects.
“This existing programme has a proven track record and has operated at an excellent standard since its’ introduction.
“Therefore it baffles me that the European Commission would put an end to this programme and reinvent the wheel with this totally unnecessary new programme. It doesn´t make any administrative or economic sense to put an end to a good programme and replace it with a new one.
“My main concern, and the main concern of many others, is that the current proposals by the Commission have too much of an emphasis on private interests.
“The fact the European Solidarity Corps shall be open to the participation of public or private entities is quite troubling. From what is being proposed at the moment, there is potential for the exploitation of young people to work in what should be full time jobs, for free.
“Under its proposed form the ESC could lead to the exploitation of participants given there is a noted private sector aspect to it and I have expressed these concerns to the Commission when I wrote to them this week.”