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Horizontal features of the Europe for Citizens Programme

Project promoters are invited to take into consideration the following important, horizontal features while implementing their projects within the Europe for Citizens Programme.

European values

For citizens to give their full support to European integration and to develop their sense of belonging to the European Union, it is important to bring common European values, history and culture to the fore. Freedom, democracy and respect for human rights, cultural diversity, tolerance and solidarity belong to those values. Project promoters are invited to consider how those values can be reflected in their projects. Specific attention should be paid to the fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance.

Informal learning for active European citizenship

The Commission has identified ten key competences that every citizen should acquire. The interpersonal, intercultural and social competences as well as civic competence belong to them [COM(2005)548 final].

These competences are defined as follows: they cover all forms of behaviour that equip individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in social and working life, and particularly in increasingly diverse societies, and to resolve conflict where necessary. Civic competence equips individuals to fully participate in civic life, based on knowledge of social and political concepts and structures and a commitment to active and democratic participation.

The Europe for Citizens Programme provides important opportunities for citizens to acquire skills and competences, in a European context, through informal and non-formal learning. For example, by preparing and participating in a multinational town twinning citizens’ meeting, citizens will develop new skills for interacting with people coming from different countries or horizons. Through the involvement in a citizens’ panel at European level, citizens will develop their understanding of European issues and will probably be willing to participate more actively in democratic decision-making at all levels.

Volunteering - expression of active European citizenship

Volunteering is an essential element in active citizenship: by giving one’s time for the benefit of others, volunteers service their community and play an active role in society. They develop the sense of belonging to a community thereby also gaining ownership. Volunteering is therefore a particularly powerful means to develop citizens’ commitment to their society and to its political life. Civil society organisations, associations of a European general interest, town twinning associations and other participating organisations often rely on volunteer work to carry out and to develop their activities. Therefore, particular attention is paid within this Programme to the promotion of volunteering.

Transnationality and local dimension

Active European Citizenship can only be concretely experienced in an environment which goes beyond a national vision. Transnationality represents therefore an important feature of this Programme, which can be expressed in different ways:

  • The theme of the project can be transnational by tackling an issue from a European perspective or by comparing different national points of view. Such a transnational theme can be implemented by giving the floor directly to persons from different national backgrounds or to people having an original, transnational point of view on the issue.
     
  • The transnationality can also derive from the nature of the project promoters: the project can indeed be developed and implemented through the cooperation of a number of partner organisations, coming from different participating countries.
     
  • Transnationality can also be achieved by ensuring that the project is targeted directly to a public in, or from, different countries or by disseminating the results of the project across borders, thereby reaching indirectly a European audience.
     

Project promoters are encouraged to strengthen the transnational dimension of their project, possibly by combining the above mentioned characteristics. This transnational dimension should be accompanied by a strong local dimension. In order to help bridging the gap between them and the European Union, it is particularly important that projects or activities supported by this Programme reach citizens in their every day life, on issues that are of relevance to them.

Cultural and linguistic diversity

The European Commission committed itself to promoting cultural and linguistic diversity through different initiatives and Programmes. The Europe for Citizens Programme can contribute to achieving those objectives by bringing European citizens of different nationalities and different languages together and by giving them the opportunity to participate in common activities. Participation in such a project should raise awareness on the richness of the cultural and linguistic environment in Europe. It should also promote mutual understanding and tolerance, thereby contributing to the development of a respectful, dynamic and multifaceted European identity. Project promoters are invited to present in their application how their project will tackle these issues.

Cross-fertilisation

This Programme has clear and coherent objectives, which are to be achieved through different, complementary actions. These actions address different types of organisations. Synergies and wider multiplier effect can be achieved through the cooperation of those various types of organizations within this Programme. For example, a town twinning conference addressing a social issue could benefit from the participation of local associations working in the field. A think tank could cooperate with a European NGO to implement new methods of citizens’ participation. An association in charge of a memorial of the deportations could associate citizens from twinned towns to a commemoration. The potential of so called ‘cross-fertilisation’ is very important. Therefore, projects involving different kinds of organisations deserve special attention.

Equal access to the Programme

The principle of non-discrimination belongs to the Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Anti-discrimination is a core element of the Europe for Citizens Programme, targeted at all citizens. Projects should therefore be accessible to all European citizens, including legal residents without any form of discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation.

Project promoters should pay due attention to the necessity of promoting equal opportunities for all, with a particular attention on equality between men and women and on senior citizens.
The principle of equal access to the programme does not prohibit grants to be allocated to activities addressing primarily certain target groups (such as disabled people, young people, women, etc.).

Gender balance

The European Commission indeed actively promotes equal opportunities for all, and in particular equality between women and men. All Member States have decided to include the principle of equality between women and men (or ‘gender equality’) in all policies and actions at European Union level, particularly in the fields of education and culture.

The Europe for Citizens Programme aims at reaching a balanced participation of men and women in the supported projects, not only globally, but also within each measure. At Programme level, this means that appropriate measures should be taken, as much as possible, to stimulate the interest and participation of the less represented gender in each measure.

Intergenerational solidarity

Demographic changes are one of the major challenges awaiting Europe in the coming years and present a risk for the cohesion of society. The objectives of this Programme can not be satisfactorily achieved if a large group of citizens, the seniors, is left aside. Project promoters are invited to reflect upon this issue in their project and to encourage the participation of senior citizens. Furthermore, those citizens have a specific role to play with regard to the transmission of the memory of the building of today’s Europe. Therefore, special attention should be paid to promoting intergenerational exchanges and solidarity. Projects should endeavour to engage, as much as possible, all age groups into the proposed activities.

Visibility, valorisation and dissemination

Visibility of the Programme

All activities funded under the Europe for Citizens Programme have to contribute to promoting this Programme. Enhancing visibility of the Europe for Citizens Programme means for example that activities and products funded within the Programme must clearly mention that they have received Commission support (including through the use of European logos). Commission support should also be made clear in relations with the media.

Project partners should make use of all opportunities to ensure appropriate media coverage (local, regional, national, international) for their activities, before and during their implementation.

The objective is to ensure that all participants are aware of the fact that they are involved in a European Programme, but also to show to the wider public that the European Union is supporting a project of good quality, that interests them directly and that would not have taken place without this support.

Visibility is mainly to be ensured while the project takes place. Therefore, it should be integrated in the planning of the project.

The Commission will also develop cooperation with authorities of the participating countries for ensuring the visibility of this Programme.

Valorisation and dissemination of results

Valorisation can be defined as the process of disseminating and exploiting the results of projects with a view to optimising their value, strengthening their impact and making the largest possible number of European citizens benefit from them.

This objective of valorisation has three consequences:

  • Mobilisation of the potential of the individual projects:
    Each project supported by this Programme should make the necessary efforts for ensuring its valorisation. Project promoters should carry out activities aimed at making the results of their projects more visible, better known and sustainable. For example, they could encourage appropriate media coverage. They could inform - or possibly involve- local, regional, national or European elected officials. They could also plan to produce material facilitating the dissemination and exploitation of results, like flyers, DVDs, websites, publications etc. Thanks to these activities, is means that the results of a project will continue to be used and have a positive effect on the largest possible number of citizens once the project has come to an end. By planning valorisation activities as part of their projects, promoters will increase the quality of their work and actively contribute to the overall impact of the Europe for citizens Programme. This aspect will be duly taken into account in the qualitative evaluation of the applications.
     
  • Structuring the Programme:
    This Programme has been designed for ensuring its greatest possible impact, for example through the setting of priorities, applicable to the whole Programme, or through the networking of organisations having gained experience in the same thematic area. The action ‘Together for Europe’ has a specific role to play in this field.
     
  • Actions taken by the European Commission:
    The European Commission will first analyse the situation of the valorisation under this Programme and will then carry out various activities for strengthening this dimension and supporting project promoters in this respect.
Last update: 16/01/2014  Print | Top of page