Europe for citizens Programme: 2012 priorities are published!
The priorities for 2012 shall focus on two broad and fundamental axes: 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.