I welcome the proposal put forward a few days ago by the Commission to earmark some EUR 340 million for the purpose of giving 100 000 young volunteers placements on European Solidarity Corps projects by 2020. This initiative is essential for giving young people more opportunities and promoting action in the name of solidarity.
Since the Corps was launched in 2016, more than 30 000 young people are said to have expressed an interest in taking part. Needless to say, that is a good number considering that the initiative is still in its early stages. I am concerned, however, that a worrying geographical imbalance is already emerging: an extremely large proportion of applications are coming from countries in the south of Europe (5352 applications from Italy, 4470 from Spain, 2836 from Portugal and more than 2000 from Greece). Whilst it is entirely understandable that there should be no quota system in the selection procedure, efforts to promote the initiative in all Member States should be stepped up in the hope of ensuring a more even geographical spread among participants.
What information and promotional campaigns is the Commission planning to carry out in the Member States?
To what extent will it work with national authorities to that end?
What kind of monitoring tool will it use in the implementation of the initiative?