European Year of Volunteering is 2011

European Commission confirms date of £13m promotion, ending speculation about delays

The European Commission has given official confirmation that the European Year of Volunteering will go ahead in 2011.

Commission officials suggested before Christmas that the programme could not be organised until 2013, prompting an intensive lobbying campaign by an alliance of 19 European volunteering networks. Campaigners said this month that the commission had indicated it was warming to the 2011 timeframe.

At a European Commission meeting last week, it was confirmed that president José Manuel Barroso had given the go-ahead for 2011.

Markus Held, director of the European Volunteer Centre, which coordinated the campaign to secure the year, said he was delighted by the confirmation.

"The commission has responded to the voice of its citizens, more than 100 million of whom contribute to society as volunteers," he said. "We believe the decision brings the commission closer to the people of Europe and their real concerns."

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