Volunteering in the EU
Voluntary activities play an important role in Europe, but the situation differs from country to country, while some countries have longstanding volunteering traditions, in others the voluntary sector is still poorly developed or has yet to emerge. According to a 2007 Eurobarometer survey, three out of ten Europeans say they take part in voluntary activities. Some estimates place the total number of EU volunteers at 92 to 94 million adults (23% of all Europeans over 15). There has been a general increase in the number of active volunteers and voluntary organisations in the EU over the past ten years.
In 2011, the European Commission launched the European Year of Volunteering to celebrate the efforts of the estimated 100 million Europeans who take part in voluntary activities. The year also aimed at making volunteering easier for people and improving the quality of volunteering in Europe.
The Commission is also working to improve and promote volunteering among young people, particularly to encourage volunteering across borders. The European Voluntary Service is the best known programme helping young people to volunteer abroad.
European Voluntary Service organisations database