When 2011 was declared the ‘European Year of Volunteering and Active Citizenship’ by the European Union, Citizens of Europe decided to realize the project „Volunteering 2011“ together with friends and partner organisations from all over Europe.
The aim was to exchange knowledge, experience and ideas related to voluntary work and to inspire future cooperation.
The following text sums up the results of the OpenFora in Bruges and Budapest and of the Citizens’ Convention in Landau in der Pfalz.
Democracy is not possible without active citizens. A truly democratic society requires people who are sensitive to the world around them, who care for the needs of others and their society, and who are ready to take responsibility and get involved. As members of civil society organisations, we challenge ourselves to volunteer and to encourage others to join in, because:
▪ Volunteering is a way to practice active citizenship in everyday life. A society is compassionate, effective and innovative if people get active in fields they feel passionately about and in ways they deem relevant.
▪ Volunteering is about fostering participation and leading citizens towards empowerment. It can provide a low threshold for personal responsibility as well as a supportive environment for learning and personal development.
▪ Volunteering contributes to a greater understanding between people from different backgrounds. It enables practical experience in dealing with conflict and thus helps citizens to live in peace together. Harmful and disruptive activities cannot be justified through volunteering, intolerance cannot be tolerated. A healthy and vibrant community requires creativity, an exchange of ideas and the interaction of different groups.
▪ Value different motivations to engage in voluntary activities and are interested in the ideas, approaches and achievements of others.
▪ Welcome all voluntary actions which are in line with the basic values of the European Union. ▪ Aim to contribute to a continuous and mutual exchange of inspiration. We call on the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, Member States’ governments, local and regional policy makers and decision makers to:
▪ Achieve a new balance between the three sectors (public, private, civil), so that volunteering is recognized as an equally valid and respected part of the social contract, which makes up our European society.
▪ Create a common European framework, in terms of regulations and best practice sharing for volunteering, in which voluntary activity is acknowledged and supported by all Member States.
▪ Create opportunities for the local population and immigrant groups to meet, exchange and bridge cultural divides through voluntary activities.Landau Citizens ConventionV11 – Volunteering 2011CitizenshipDemocracy