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"Europe for Citizens" – Frequently asked questions

10 May 2007
by eub2 -- last modified 10 May 2007

The new "Europe for Citizens" programme, in force since January 2007, gives EU citizens the opportunity to interact in initiatives and projects with a European profile in order to foster citizens' participation, development of their European identity and sense of ownership of the European project as well as to enhance tolerance and mutual understanding between them. The programme was officially launched in Brussels on 10 May 2007.


1 – Why a programme?

The programme materialises the legal framework to support a wide range of activities and organisations promoting 'active European citizenship', i.e. the involvement of citizens and civil society organisations in the process of European integration. This active involvement of citizens and civil society contributes to bridge the gap between the citizens and the European project.

2 – What are the EU's actions in the field of citizenship? Are there other initiatives undertaken by the Commission with the same aim?

"Europe for citizens" is just one of the initiatives. Indeed the other DG EAC programmes like Life Long Learning, Youth in Action or Culture integrate the active citizenship aspect as one of their priorities.

Outside DG EAC the programme 'Fundamental rights and citizenship' managed by DG JLS aims at making the citizens aware of their rights as European citizens and the DG COMM has launched a new communication strategy. Both initiatives are examples of European Commission efforts to better communicate the European project to the citizens.

3 - To whom is this programme addressed?

The target group of "Europe for Citizens" are the 'European citizens', this is to say the almost 500 million Europeans (citizens of EU-Member States as well as legal residents).

The direct beneficiaries of the grants are all stakeholders promoting active European citizenship, like local authorities and organisations, European public policy research organisations, citizens' groups, civil society organisations, NGO's, trade unions, educational institutions...

4 – Which are the participating countries in the programme?

The 27 Member States of the European Union. When fulfilling certain legal and financial obligations, the EFTA countries - which are parties to the EEA Agreement - , the candidate countries and the countries from the Western Balkans can participate in "Europe for citizens". Croatia and Serbia have already formally expressed their intention to take part in the programme as from 2008.

5 – What does an organisation or group of citizens willing to participate in the programme have to do?

They have to consult the "Europe for citizens" programme guide.

This document has the value of a permanent call for proposals and will available for the whole duration of the programme. The potential participants will find practical information regarding the different actions and measures where they could present their projects, dead lines, thematic priorities of the programme, contact details, as well as tips and ideas to present a good project.

6 – Who implements the programme?

The European Commission is ultimately responsible for the running of "Europe for Citizens" programme, but is the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency created by the Commission in January 2006 which competent for the implementation of the actions and of the management of the life cycle of the projects. Further information

7 – Among others, "Europe for citizens" proposes a measure on town twinning. What are the innovations over and above traditional twinning?

The town twinning movement was launched well before it received support from the European Union in 1989. Today's Europe is covered by a unique and dense network of linked municipalities whose aim is to encourage cooperation between the towns and to foster mutual understanding between their citizens. This network has a real potential to face the challenges of today's Europe. By supporting town twinning citizens meetings' and thematic networking of twinned towns in a structured way "Europe for citizens" makes the best possible use of this potential.

8 – There is one other action called 'Active European Remembrance' that aims at preserving the main sites and archives associated with deportations and at commemorating the victims of Nazism and Stalinism. Why are not other European dictatorial regimes not included in this action?

The European Parliament decided during the programme's negotiation period to take into account only Nazism and Stalinism because they are situated at the very origins of the creation of the European Union. Actions supported under this measure have to engage citizens', especially youth, in a reflection on the origins of the European Union, fifty years ago, on the history of European integration and on today's Europe, thereby moving beyond the past and building the future.

9 – How does active European citizenship contribute to the Lisbon Strategy?

Active citizenship can be a tool for improving the social bonds and the social skills within our societies. It contributes to mutual understanding, tolerance and intercultural dialogue, therefore to better social interactions. Those are key elements for Europe's economic revival.

'Europe for Citizens' European Commission website

Source: European Commission