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Priority themes of the Europe for citizens Programme

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Introduction

Under this Programme, priority is given to certain themes of particular relevance for the development of an active European citizenship. The setting up of themes will also encourage synergies between projects working on the same issue and will ensure greater visibility and impact of the supported activities and of the Programme in general. Applicants under this Programme are invited to address in their projects one or more of these priority theme.

However, the Programme remains open to innovative, bottom-up projects, which do not fall within these priority themes.
Some of the themes will be relevant for the whole period of the Programme and will therefore have a permanent character. However, the way these issues are being tackled will depend on specific events or developments in the field. Therefore, a permanent priority can also give indications on aspects on which emphasis will be put in a given period.
In order to be able to react to new or very specific topics arising on the European agenda, annual priorities of relevance for this Programme and of a limited duration can be set up.

Permanent themes

Priority will be given under this Programme to the following themes:

Future of the European Union and its basic values

The important and rapid changes of the European Union make it necessary to engage citizens and civil society organizations in a deep, long lasting reflection on the future of Europe. This has been recognized in 2005 by the Heads of State and Government, which decided a reflection pause on the future of Europe after the ratification process of the Constitution was suspended. To support this reflection, the Commission proposed the Plan D to strengthen dialogue, debate and democracy in Europe. The Europe for Citizens Programme is an important tool in this context. It can be used to set up a structured dialogue in societies in view “of fostering a sense of ownership of the European Union among its citizens” as mentioned in the Programme objectives.

Vision of the future of the European Union is by definition linked to its basic values. This permanent priority includes therefore also dialogue and actions related to basic values such as human rights, tolerance, solidarity and fight against racism and xenophobia.
This permanent theme will be nourished by the developments in the process of European integration.

  • 50 years of the Treaty of Rome
    The Treaty of Rome, signed on the 25 March 1957, was the most important milestone in European integration. The 50th anniversary of the Treaty will be on the EU agenda during the whole year 2007. Projects celebrating this historic landmark and reflecting upon its consequences for the building of Europe will therefore be given priority in 2007.
     
  • Celebrations of the 9th May - Day of Europe
    In order to make the building of Europe more visible, this Programme will support and encourage actions involving citizens in celebrations of the 9 May, day of Europe, thereby contributing to the development of European identity. This day should become a “regular appointment” between the European Union and its citizens.


Active European Citizenship: participation and democracy in Europe

The concept of Active European Citizenship lies at the heart of this Programme. There is a need for further reflection on this concept of Active European Citizenship as well as need for development of tools and models adapted to citizens’ active participation in the construction of Europe at all levels. Therefore, the issues of active European Citizenship, participation and democracy are a permanent priority of this Programme. These issues will therefore be tackled by studies and reflections as well as by projects involving citizens and civil society organizations.
 

Inter-cultural dialogue

The successive enlargements of the European Union, the increased mobility resulting from the single market, the migration flows, old and new, are increasing interactions between European citizens. Consequently, they should be able to fulfill their potential in a more solidarity based society. Promoting participation of each citizen in intercultural dialogue through the structured co-operation with civil society is fundamental to creating a European identity and enhancing the various aspects of belonging to a community. European citizens should be aware of the importance of developing active European citizenship which is open to the world, respects cultural diversity and is based on the common values of the European Union.

  • European Year of Intercultural Dialog 2008
    2008 will be the European Year on Intercultural Dialogue. To maximise the impact of the year, it is important to mobilise all relevant programmes to this exercise already during the year 2007, so that their results can be fully exploited in 2008. The Europe for Citizens Programme has a specific role to play with regard to intercultural exchanges.
     

People’s well being in Europe: employment, social cohesion and sustainable development

The European societies are changing rapidly. For example issues like globalisation, transition towards a knowledge based economy, demographic developments, immigration, increasing individualism are recurrent challenges. In this context, the European Union has adopted a clear strategy for facing these challenges: the “Lisbon agenda” has set the following target for the EU: to become the most competitive knowledge based economy in the world.
The Europe for Citizens Programme will encourage actions dealing with these issues, giving a European perspective to people’s everyday life experience and demonstrating how the EU can improve their well being in an evolving environment.


Impact of EU policies in societies

The Programme has as an objective to bring Europe closer to its citizens. A very important aspect in this exercise is to raise citizens’ awareness of the results achieved trough European policies and actions in various policy fields.
Organisations which are based on a strong, pan-European membership and which are focused on specific issues belong to the stakeholders of this Programme. They are well placed for engaging their members and their audiences in projects or reflections on the concrete impact of EU policies in their field of interest. The Programme should therefore encourage actions, which provide citizens with opportunities to recognize, debate, assess and build opinions on these achievements.

Annual priorities

Priorities of the Programme for 2013

The Programme's priorities for the year 2013 shall focus on contributing to the objectives set out for the European Year of Citizens by:

  • raising awareness on the values and rights of Union citizens and on the opportunities provided by the EU;
  • enhancing citizen's participation in the democratic life of the EU.

The Programme will thus support the promotion of European citizenship and democracy, comprising the development of understanding of the EU, its values and what it brings to citizens daily lives; and on the other hand, the empowerment of citizens to play a full part in the democratic life of the EU. Any action under this work programme shall respect and shall be implemented in line with the rights and principles enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Priority One - EU: values, rights and opportunities for Citizens

In 2013 further efforts should be put into raising awareness, reflection and debate on the relevance and implications of EU policies on citizens' daily lives and in removing the remaining obstacles that EU citizens still face. The Europe for Citizens Programme is an important tool in this respect and can make a valuable contribution to increase awareness, understanding and enjoyment of the values, rights and opportunities created by the EU as well as to foster reflection on the cost of non-Europe and to support the preservation of the European memory.

Priority Two – Citizens participation in the democratic life of the EU

Citizens' engagement with issues which constitute the European Union's political priorities is a key element of civic participation. Citizens' engagement and participation is especially important in an economically challenging context and in view of the upcoming European parliament elections. The Europe for Citizens Programme represents a valuable tool for encouraging citizens to share their views on the political programme and concrete actions proposed by the European Institutions and to influence what the agenda should comprise (agenda setting) and how the agenda should be taken forward. Particular attention should be given to citizens' perspectives on the conditions that should be put in place to enable them to further influence and participate in the development of a sustainable and inclusive economy as well to their ideas on ways to improve social cohesion. Civil society should also be invited to further contribute to developing a European Area for Freedom, Security and Justice.

Projects shall facilitate the exchange of views with and presentation of results to the appropriate decision-makers on ongoing European policies and their impact on local situations as well as on local issues with a European dimension.

Priorities of the Programme for 2012

  • On one hand, the promotion of European citizenship and democracy, comprising the development of understanding of the EU, its values and what it brings to citizens daily lives;
  • and on the other hand, feeding the direct and current interest of citizens into the European political agenda.

Priority One – Citizens and the EU: values, democratic life and institutional issues

The active involvement of citizens in dialogue and reflection on the EU, its policy objectives and its values are crucial in fostering a sense of ownership and of European identity amongst citizens. The Europe for Citizens Programme is an important tool in this respect and can make a valuable contribution to increase awareness, understanding and enjoyment of the values and principles enshrined in the EU Treaties.

The Treaty also puts the role of the EU in the world on a new footing and introduces important changes in the functioning of the EU institutions, inter-institutional relations and interaction between the European institutions, national parliaments and citizens. The Europe for Citizens Programme represents an important means of empowering citizens to play a full part in the democratic life of the EU. Fostering participation through volunteering in particular, promoting equal opportunities for all, intercultural dialogue and contributing to an inclusive society are issues of fundamental importance to active citizenship, including as regards participation in political life.

Priority Two - Citizens' interests and EU policies

Citizens' engagement with issues which constitute the European Union's political priorities is a key element of civic participation. The Europe for Citizens Programme represents a valuable tool for raising awareness amongst citizens and encouraging them to share their views on the political programme and concrete actions proposed by the European Institutions and to influence what the agenda should comprise (agenda setting) and how the agenda should be taken forward. Particular attention should be given to the perspective of citizens and organised civil society on the skills needed to contribute to and benefit from a knowledge-based and sustainable economy and on the ways to ensure it goes hand in hand with social cohesion.

In 2012 further efforts should then be put into raising awareness, reflection and debate on the relevance and implications of EU policies on citizens' daily lives and in removing the remaining obstacles that EU citizens still face. Topics under debate should also link to the issues in the European agenda, including economic governance, young people's role in the labour market and society, climate change, sustainable energy, flexicurity, transport, innovation and other flagship initiatives and objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. Projects shall facilitate the exchange of views with and presentation of results to the appropriate decision-makers on ongoing European policies and their impact on local situations as well as on local issues with an European dimension. A focus should also be on projects which are related to the objectives of the European Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity.

Priorities of the Programme for 2011:

  • Involving civil society in debate, reflection, action as well as raising awareness of the EU including on the effects of the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty in particular as regards the European citizens' rights; making the achievements of European construction more visible including through commemorating Europe day on 9 May.

  • Empowering citizens to play a full part in the democratic life of the EU and exercise their new right of initiative; fostering participation through volunteering linked to the European Year of volunteering; equal opportunities in political life.

  • Raising awareness of and mobilising stakeholders, active in bridging cultural barriers, to reflect on social cohesion and social innovation and take part in the European Year of volunteering.

  • Impact and consequences of the current economic situation and the social dimension of the new Europe 2020 strategy – involving citizens and civil society, including volunteers, in developing locally adapted solutions & exchanging experience on these in the European context.

  • Awareness-raising, reflection and exchange of views with decision-makers on the relevance and implications of especially topical EU policies on citizens' daily lives including the governance, climate change, sustainable energy and economic aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy; building on the results of the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

Priorities of the programme for 2010 :

  • The future of the European Union and its basic values. Celebrations of Europe Day on 9 May in the context of 60th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration will play an important role during 2010.

  • Active European citizenship: civic participation and democracy in Europe. Emphasis will be put on the role of civil society organisations and the various forms of civic participation in the democratic life of the EU as well as on the equal opportunities in political life. In 2010, it will also be important to raise awareness about and to mobilise stakeholders towards the scheduled European Year of Volunteering 2011.

  • Intercultural dialogue. This permanent priority remains an important issue during 2010 especially as it plays a crucial part in creating a sense of belonging, of mutual understanding and of solidarity. Solidarity and mutual understanding are fundamental elements of socially cohesive societies. Therefore the intercultural dialogue will be especially well placed in the context of 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

  • People's well-being in Europe: employment, social cohesion and sustainable development. Citizens' engagement with the big societal issues which constitute the European Union's political priorities, such as climate change and energy, the economic crises and immigration is a vital aspect of civic participation. Dealing with challenges such as these is crucial to achieve social and environmental justice because they combine global and local dimensions and solidarity with future and present generations. In 2010 it will be particularly important to deal with the impact and consequences of the current economic situation: to involve citizens and civil society in developing locally adapted solutions and to exchange experience on these in the European context.

  • Impact of EU policies in societies. The programme will continue to provide an opportunity for the European citizens to reflect on the results achieved through EU policies and actions in various policy areas. The beneficiary organisations of the Europe for Citizens programme present a valuable channel through which various audiences can be involved in awareness raising and reflections on the outcome of EU policies in their field of interest. They will be invited to participate and to influence the EU's current and future policies.

Priorities of the programme for 2009 :

  • The future of the European Union and its basic values: The celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  • European citizenship, participation and democracy in Europe: European Parliament elections, the participation of women in political life.

  • Monitoring of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008: structural and methodological aspects.

  • Well-being of people in Europe - employment, social cohesion and sustainable development: the involvement of citizens at the heart of major social issues which are the political priorities of the European Union, such as climate change and energy; Sport for active citizenship and social inclusion under the White Paper on sport and the Action Plan adopted by the Commission.

  • Impact of the European policy in the society: The challenges of immigration, the European Year of creativity and innovation in 2009.

  • Encourage local authorities to create thematic networks related to their involvement in development activities.

 

Last update: 16/01/2014  Print | Top of page