The Conference of the European Voluntary Center-CEV, devoted to the development of public policies and entitled ‘Volunteering in Europe: More than a challenge’, took place from 4th to 6th October in Vienna, Austria.
Organized with the support of the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Austrian Republic, the conference brought together representatives of volunteering organizations and networks, national volunteer centres members of the CEV, together with volunteer policy makers from different cities, countries and institutions of the European Union.
The conference celebrated the 25th anniversary of the CEV, remembering some of the most important milestones in its history, such as the Declaration of 2011, the European Year of Volunteering and Active Citizenship, and shared information on the development of public policies for the promotion of volunteering at European level, with special attention to transnational youth programs such as the European Voluntary Service or the European Solidarity Corps, and to learn about successful experiences and programs of volunteering regarding refugees.
During the conference, opened by the Austrian Minister for Labor, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mr Alois Stöger, a study was presented regarding national leadership for the promotion of volunteering, carried out by IAVE (a network which FCV is member of), and among various initiatives, the three candidate cities for the European volunteering capital of 2019 were presented. The main volunteer events that will take place in 2018 were also presented, such as the 25th IAVE Volunteer World Conference, to be held in October in Augsburg, Germany.
Projects were also reported linking volunteering with employability and training based on skills and, in a participatory way, we were able to share our views on the challenges and trends of volunteering in Europe.
Participating in the conference of the CEV has served to establish a dialogue with other voluntary organizations members of the CEV, representatives of the European Commission, the Committee of Regions and civic service programs in France, Germany and Austria, among other organizations.
Lluc Martí, coordinator of the ‘Active Volunteers’ program participated on behalf of the FCV and the Federació d’Organitzacions Catalanes de la Gent Gran, Dones i Família -FOCAGG and, as well as the representatives of the Catalan Federation of Social Volunteering- FCVS and Volunteers from la Caixa, had to answer many questions about the serious political situation of the current conflict in Catalonia, about which many of the participants, colleagues from all over Europe, shared their concern, solidarity and confidence in reaching a dialogue which prevents the escalation of conflict and violence.
The next CEV conference will be held in Rijeka, Croatia, in April 2018 and will be dedicated to cultural volunteering. For more information on CEV, visit their website.