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Smith welcomes new EU aid initiative with 10,000 volunteers

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today welcomed a proposal from the European Commission to establish a new EU-wide voluntary aid corps. 

The initiative will see around 10,000 EU citizens volunteer - between 2014 and 2020 - for humanitarian operations throughout the world. Supported with a budget of €239.1 million, the scheme will be open to all EU citizens and long-term EU residents over 18 years old. 

On top of the initial 10,000 volunteers who will work around the globe there will also be the ability to have 10,000 more volunteers providing support from their own home via an online site. 

The initiative is supported by the SNP following a motion at party’s conference last year from Alyn and his colleague Linda Fabiani MSP. 

Commenting, Alyn said: 

“This initiative, which was one of the proposals included in the Lisbon Treaty, has real scope to deliver much needed aid across the globe. It is also a prime example of the work done by the European Union in improving the lives of not only its citizens but for people across the world. 

“International aid is a key priority of the EU which, along with its individual Member States already provide the majority of international aid in the world and this initiative will continue that support. 

“Not only will it provide much needed aid in developing nations but it will also provide the opportunity to 10,000 Europeans to gain valuable experience across the globe whilst also improving the lives of the people they work with. 

“Support for this initiative is also SNP policy following the adoption of a resolution last year by myself and Linda Fabiani MSP. 

“I would encourage as many Scots as possible to apply for this initiative when it hopefully comes to fruition in the months and years ahead.”