2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes
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The German-speaking Community participates both in the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programme. The Youth Office (Jugendbüro der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft) was appointed as National Agency and the German-speaking Community contributes financially to the programme (roughly 235.000 EUR in 2020).
In 2009, the youth ministers of the three Communities in Belgium started the Bel’J Programme. Bel’J allows groups of young people or young individuals between the age of 16 and 30 to meet young people from other Belgian Communities or develop a volunteer projects in the other Communities in collaboration with local organisations. Each of the communities has put an agency in charge of overseeing the activities of Bel’J. The Jugendbüro (Youth Office) coordinates Bel'J in the German-speaking Community.
Every year, the ASA-Program enables up to 250 young people from Europe to take part in its learning and qualification program dedicated to development education. The ASA-Program promotes exchange and learning about our One World through personal experience. It supports young and dedicated people to expand their skills and to contribute to sustainable global development based on respect for human rights and cultural differences. The ASA-Program is a very diverse program addressing different target groups and fields of activities. No matter what program, the participants are obliged to attend all seminars. Overall, the ASA-Program offers five subprograms: ASA-Basis, ASA-SüdNord, ASA-Kommunal, ASApreneurs and GLEN.
The ASA-Program offers a learning cycle consisting of training seminars, a practical phase and a follow-up phase including a global activity.
Seminars: In the seminars, which are held prior to, and after their three-month internship abroad, the participants learn about global interdependencies and international development. During the seminars they develop and try out new skills and new methods and get prepared for their internship abroad.
Practical phase: During the practical phase a team of two or three participants take part in a development project for three months. The projects take place within organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America or South Eastern Europe.
Global activity: After their time abroad the participants organize a global activity (e.g. a photo exhibition or a workshop at a school) in Germany or Europe to pass on their experience.
The ASA-Program is part of Engagement Global - Service for Development Initiatives and is mostly financed by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, BMZ). ASA is co-financed by the German-speaking Community (on condition that one young german-speaking Belgian can take part), however this agreement is by now being discontinued due to a lack of interest in the German-speaking Community. Engagement Global is a politically independent and non-profit organization.
Another programme in which young people coming from the German-speaking Community can participate is Quebec-Wallonie. As far as the German-speaking Community is concerned, the Youth Office is responsible for coordinating this programme.
Short-term voluntary work can be taken on in Belgium without the need for a work permit, although the visa/residence requirements apply.
Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can travel freely to Belgium on the basis of their national ID card or passport and do not require a visa to travel to Belgium nor a work permit to engage in economic activities. As a rule, third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens) need a visa to enter Belgium and a work permit to engage in economic activities.