The Universal Civil Service is turning 50 years old. On the occasion of the anniversary and the inauguration of the new Italian government led by Giorgia Meloni, the National Civil Service Forum (FNSC), the National Conference of Civil Service Organizations (CNESC) and CSVnet – Association of Volunteer Service Centers, have written to the Premier to remark the importance of Universal Civil Service and the social value it boasts. The missive aims to favor an open dialogue with the current executive to work on those peculiarities that make the “Institute of our Republic” a hotbed of opportunities for young Italians. On the other hand, Meloni herself wanted to point out, during her speech to the Chamber of Deputies last October 25, that Italy: “can and must be rebuilt by the enthusiasm and courage of its young people.” So, a shared purpose that aims to turn the spotlight on the new generations, those who represent the future of the country.
Universal Civil Service and its “educational potential”
For fifty years, Universal Civil Service has been weaving webs so that the social fabric can strengthen and grow strong. Born as an alternative to military service in 1972, thanks to the protest actions of nonviolent organizations and the growing interest of citizens in conscientious objection, the Universal Civil Service presents a history made up of important milestones especially with regard to the training and education of young people.
This is one of the reasons that prompted the entities already mentioned to write a document, addressed to the President of the Council of Ministers, highlighting the potential of the Institute and its value. In this regard, the letter reads, “Civil Service represents a relevant investment of the State in the education and training of its young people, linking in a new way individual instances with the interests, challenges and needs of the community in which young people live. This enables the state to rebuild that fundamental relationship of trust with citizens that is the basis of a country’s democratic life. While being aware of the priorities and urgencies that Italy will have to face, we therefore hope that the new government will continue with us to invest in the Civil Service and that the delegation will be assigned to a person who is motivated to fully understand the subject and willing to listen to and value all the actors that are part of the system.” Thus, the particular historical moment the whole world is facing is also leveraged: after a two-year period marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, also the heavy consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. In Italy, high utility bills and inflation are causing not a few economic and social difficulties; hence the urgency to emphasize how much, especially for young people, opportunities for growth must be offered. According to the Eurispes OECD 2022 report, there are 3,085,000 NEETs in Italy, or young people between the ages of 14 and 29 who are neither studying nor working. Therefore, it becomes a collective need to take action, thoroughly investigate the reasons that lead to so much inequality and find appropriate solutions.
Putting aside for a moment the training and educational intent, the missive also emphasizes the human and social commitment that Civil Service requires. It is, in the senders’ words: “A system that sees tens of thousands of operators, young people and adults, professionals and volunteers, engaged on a daily basis throughout the country in activities and projects aimed at the welfare of local communities and people, particularly the most vulnerable, in the defense of the environment and rights, in support of emergencies, in the promotion of culture, history and artistic heritage. The encouraging results that have been achieved, both in the territories and in the involvement of hundreds of thousands of young people, testify to the usefulness of this policy and urge us to keep alive the investments, facilities and personnel, which each year our world generously makes available to the state.”
An interesting term that is mentioned is: results. Because, in fact, the success of the Civil Service is precisely based on this, on the goals achieved, on the amount of people who have had the opportunity to be protagonists in the growth and change of the country thanks precisely to the opportunities offered by the various Agencies.
There is another theme worth exploring: the very wide range of action in which volunteers and Entities operate; from the environment to cultural promotion, via support for the less fortunate, thus painting a varied and rich picture of possibilities that cannot be taken lightly.
From the new government National Civil Service Forum (FNSC), the National Conference of Civil Service Organizations (CNESC) and CSVnet – Association of Volunteer Service Centers ask, therefore, for constant dialogue, considering that: “Civil Service represents a relevant investment by the State in the education and training of its young people, linking in a new way individual instances with the interests, challenges and needs of the community in which young people live. This enables the state to rebuild that fundamental relationship of trust with citizens that is the basis of a country’s democratic life.” This: “While we are aware of the priorities and urgencies that Italy will have to face, we therefore hope that the new government will continue with us to invest in the Civil Service and that the delegation will be assigned to a person motivated to understand the subject in depth and willing to listen to and value all the actors that are part of the system.”
Gov. Meloni: priority for young people
Requests, those made by the entities, that will not go unheeded. On several occasions, the Premier has made known her willingness to quickly find solutions to the problems inherent in the precariousness and inactivity of so many girls and boys in Italy. The first action translates into the establishment in the Ministry for Sports and Youth.
Moreover, during a recent interview with the Italian newspaper Vita, Giorgia Meloni made explicit how important Civil Service is because it speaks of: “reality and concrete experience for young people of unarmed defense of the Homeland, of civic, social and cultural growth. We should fully implement the reform involving this matter to ensure a stable regulatory framework, provide for the three-year allocation of structural resources for the National Civil Service Fund, so that the many young people who apply for it can see it accepted rather than rejected for lack of resources.” On these occasions, he also reported that, in the near future, it should be: “also promoted an effective dialogue with the Regions and Third Sector entities,” so as to go on to draw up concrete and effective intervention plans.
The younger generation, in any case, is a priority for the Meloni government. During the election campaign, the one who is currently the President of the Council has often reported that she wants to contribute significantly, so much so that in the election program there is the heading “Make way for young people.” The reference paragraph reads, “The new generations represent the future of our nation: investing in youth policies means releasing new energy, opening up to innovation, cultivating talent, producing development. In short, it means building our future.” So, it can be asserted that the intent of the missive written by the entities promoting Universal Civil Service fully meets those proposed by the new executive on youth policies and on the desire to enhance the commitment of all the figures who have been building and sending the Institute forward for a good fifty years.