European volunteering year 'should be 2011'

Planned theme year could slip back to 2013

National governments must put pressure on the European Commission if the timetable for a European Year of Volunteering is not to slip back from 2011 to 2013, according to Markus Held, director of the European Volunteer Centre.

The year would see EUR15m (£13m) spent on promoting volunteering across the EU. But commission representatives told a meeting last week that the planned change in personnel at the commission next year would make it difficult to secure agreement on 2011. They also said that 2012 had already been assigned to another theme.

But Held said he was told that, if enough pressure were put on the commission by governments, 2011 might still be feasible.

"The momentum is there now and you never know what a new commission will do," he said. "It won't have the same energy in 2013 because 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the UN's International Year of the Volunteer."

Mike Locke, director of public affairs at Volunteering England, said: "We urge our Government to take up and progress this proposal."

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