The Lisbon Treaty empowers citizens and citizens associations to participate fully in the democratic life of the EU.
The “Europe for Citizens” Programme supports transnational projects in the field of citizens’ participation and European identity. While specific measures exist in various policy areas, the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme is the only tool that enables citizens to engage on general European issues, whether institutional – for example, the EU Treaties or the European Parliament elections – or cross-cutting.
Communicating, i.e. informing the general public about EU policies is another way of strengthening citizens’ awareness of European affairs and their rights. Communication activities therefore raise awareness of and provide support for the political priorities of the Union.
The largest share of the Europe for Citizens programme supports transnational town twinning partnerships. The programme also provides structural support to EU level civil society umbrella organisations and think tanks. These strategic partnerships ensure that European public interest organisations can develop their input to EU-wide debates. This strengthens the ownership of the EU agenda among civil society and EU citizens and promotes a culture of civic participation to the benefit of the EU and Member States. The programme also contributes to developing a shared understanding of European history (specifically in relation to the Holocaust and Stalinism) by supporting remembrance projects.
•Since 2007, around 1 million European citizens per year have participated directly in actions supported by the programme.
•Between 2007 and 2010, there were around 800 civil society and remembrance projects, and over 4,000 town twinning projects.
•The programme also supports over 50 major EU level think tanks, umbrella organisations and networks, who are key interlocutors of the EU institutions and multipliers.
In addition to this specific programme, more efficiency in communication to the public at large and stronger synergies between the communication activities of the Commission are necessary to ensure that the Union’s political priorities are communicated effectively. Therefore, a provision on communication, including corporate communication, will be included in each legal basis under the new generation of 2014-2020 legal instruments.
The “Europe for Citizen” programme is centrally managed by the Commission assisted by the Education and Audiovisual Executive Agency (EACEA). They are supported by a Programme Committee composed of representatives of Member State governments. ‘Europe for Citizens’ Contact Points were established in the majority of the participating countries to assist beneficiaries at the national level and provide feedback to the European Commission on the implementation of the programme. Regular dialogue with stakeholders is organised in the framework of the programme.
Synergies and pooling of resources from the different legal bases for communication will ensure greater consistency, economies of scale and a better use of resources for communication actions addressed to the public at large.
PROPOSED BUDGET ALLOCATION FOR 2014-2020
All figures in constant 2011 prices
Total proposed budget 2014-2020 €203 million