Barcelona is the European Capital of Volunteering 2014.

18/02/2014 14:36 h

Josep Maria Busquets Vidal

The European Parliament hosted the event to announce the 2014 European Capital of Volunteering . The European Capital of Volunteering is a European Volunteer Centre initiative (CEV). The event, chaired by Eva Hambach, president of the CEV, will be attended by Carles Domingo, Barcelona City Council’s Commissioner of Institutional Relations, among others.

The goal is to promote volunteering at a local level by recognising those municipalities that support and work very closely with voluntary organisations and organisations that promote altruism, as indicated in the recommendations of the Policy Agenda on Volunteering in Europe (PAVE). The winning municipality, which can be any size, is the one that can show best it is implementing the PAVE recommendations, with a special emphasis on the capacity they demonstrate for promoting and facilitating volunteer mobility between countries.

Barcelona was chosen as European Capital of Volunteering for 2014 today. On 3 October last year, Barcelona City Council and the Generalitat’s Department of Social Welfare and Family jointly promoted the Catalan capital’s bid, with the aim of promoting volunteering at a local level, at the European Volunteer Centre (CEV) annual conference. The organisation promoted this event for the first time in Sarajevo, where it announced the definitive list of local-authority candidates. The other shortlisted cities were Guimaraes (Portugal), and Rennes and Laval (France). Barcelona prepared its candidature in collaboration with the Catalan Federation of Social Volunteering (FCVS) and the La Caixa Volunteers Federation (FASVOL) and with the support of a hundred associations, institutions and other bodies.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, and the Minister for Social Welfare and Family, Neus Munté, highlighted the importance of Barcelona becoming the European Capital of Volunteering for next year. The Mayor maintained the news "fills the city with pride" and he wanted to share it with the organisations and the people aware of the city’s participation. As he pointed out, if Barcelona is going to be European Capital of Volunteering in 2014, "above all it is because of the generosity and solidarity transmitted by the men and women volunteers in our city. A social wealth we are grateful for and will recognise in 2014".

He also said he was convinced it would help to "share experiences and spread enthusiasm for taking part in building a Barcelona of the people, a Barcelona built on the basis of many acts of solidarity and social responsibility".

The Minister for Social Welfare and Family, Neus Munté, said the decision to "submit this candidature was based on the conviction that volunteering enhances society and the volunteers themselves". She reminded her audience of the involvement of Catalan society, pointing out that, "according to the CEO survey in 2012, 17% of Catalans said ‘yes’ when asked if they had done or were doing volunteering. This 17%, based on a total population of 7.5 million, would give a figure of 1,275,000 volunteers in Catalonia". According to Ms Munté, that means "Catalan society is a participatory society". Volunteering is part of our country’s identity and this capital status is a recognition of the strength of volunteering and the solidarity of the Catalan people".