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Paid citizen service to compensate young people for community work

15:09 22/10/2023

An optional programme for citizen service would compensate young people for work in the community, allowing them to earn €550 a month.

The programme would be available to about 1,000 young people around Belgium, letting them earn money while retaining their social rights, such as family allowances.

About €7.5 million has been set aside by the federal government to fund the programme, which deputy prime minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS) called a “great victory”.

“A few days ago, 300 young people formed a human chain to hand me 315 communal charters calling for the introduction of a legal status for citizen service,” the minister said. “It was our duty to listen to this request on behalf of young people and the community.”

The Ecolo-Groen party, also in the majority, welcomed the measure and the approval of the bill by the government, following “requests relayed by Georges Gilkinet within the government and Marie-Colline Leroy who, when she was an MP, met the platform on several occasions”, the party said.

Citizen service has existed in Belgium since 2007. Under this scheme, young people aged between 18 and 25 can volunteer for a project of their choice with one of 1,500 organisations affiliated to the platform.

From now on, they will also receive an allowance for their time.

Written by Helen Lyons