Today, the European Commission has adopted the Annual Work Programme of the Europe for Citizens programme for 2017. With a budget of €23.2 million for the year 2017, the Europe for Citizens programme aims at increasing citizens' awareness and understanding of the European Union, its history and diversity while fostering European citizenship and improving conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said "The Europe for Citizens Programme, by its core objectives, is extremely relevant in today’s context. It is now more than ever important for citizens to take part in discussions and debates and help shape our policies. European citizenship is a key element in strengthening and safeguarding the process of European integration, of feeling and being European. Therefore, the Commission will continue to encourage the engagement of European citizens in all aspects of life in their community, and enable them to participate in the construction of an ever closer Europe. The Europe for Citizens programme provides a substantial contribution to the European debate on the European values such as democracy, solidarity and diversity."
Through its European Remembrance strand, the programme aims to foster a common culture of remembrance and mutual understanding between citizens from different EU Member States, notably by supporting projects that reflect on major historical turning points and changes in regimes in 20th century Europe. In 2017, priority will be given to projects set up to remember the social and political revolutions in the year 1917 in Central Europe and the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. At the same time, and in line with the multi-annual priorities which are in place since 2016, priority will be given to projects dealing with the role of civil society and civic participation under totalitarian regimes, ostracism and the loss of citizens' rights under totalitarian regimes, and links between processes of democratic transition and the accession of new Member States to the European Union.
Under its Democratic engagement and civic participation strand, the programme provides opportunities for citizens to engage in town twinning projects, networks of towns or in civil society projects. Last year’s multi-annual priorities have been maintained and in 2017 priority will be given to projects debating Euroscepticism and solidarity in times of crisis. Projects will also focus on the integration of migrants, the fostering of intercultural dialogue and projects encouraging debate on the future of Europe.
When implementing the Work Programme, the Commission will encourage project promoters to use the European Solidarity Corps which will be presented on 7 December 2016. In addition, in 2017 the Europe for Citizens programme will continue to support European think tanks and other civil society organisations through operating grants.