Search

19 May 2015

Europe for Citizens

The Northern Ireland European Regional Forum (NIERF) held an information session on the EU funding programme ‘Europe for Citizens’ on 24 April 2015 in Belfast City Hall, where Bruno Denis from the DG Home at the European Commission provided a detailed overview of the programme.

The Europe for Citizens programme was created to foster citizen participation, particularly at a time when electoral turnout is diminishing and many EU citizens do not feel well informed of or involved in the EU.

The programme aims are:
  • To contribute to citizens' understanding of the EU, its history and diversity
  • To foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at EU level
  • To raise awareness of remembrance, common history and values
  • To encourage democratic participation of citizens at EU level, by developing citizens' understanding of the EU policy making-process and, by promoting opportunities for societal and intercultural engagement and volunteering at EU level
For the 2014-2020 period, Europe for Citizens has a budget of €185million. The programme is highly competitive and previously, the UK has been underrepresented in successful projects. The programme consists of 2 strands – European remembrance; and democratic engagement and civic participation.



STRAND 1: EUROPEAN REMEMBRANCE

Eligible projects:
  • Projects reflecting on the causes of totalitarian regimes in Europe's modern history and commemorating the victims of their crimes.
  • Projects concerning other defining moments and reference points in recent European history.
  • Those projects must encourage tolerance, mutual understanding, intercultural dialogue and reconciliation as a means of moving beyond the past and building the future.
Applicant and partners:
  • Public local/regional authorities or non-profit organisations, survivors’ associations, and cultural, youth, educational and research organisations, associations of twinned towns. A project must involve at least one Member State, but preference is given to transnational projects.
Maximum eligible grant for a project: €100,000
Maximum project duration: 18 months

In 2014:
472 applications received (action grants)
36 selected (€3.1million)
8% success rate

STRAND 2: DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT & CIVIC PARTICIPATION

Measure 1: TOWN TWINNING

Eligible projects:
  • Projects which bring together a wide range of citizens from twinned towns around topics in line with the objectives of the programme and its annual priorities.
  • "Twinning" understood broadly
Applicant and partners:
  • towns/municipalities or their twinning committees or other non-profit organisations representing local authorities. Minimum of 25 invited participants
Maximum eligible grant for a project: €25,000
Maximum project duration: 21 days (meeting), 9 months (eligibility period)

In 2014:
667 applications received
253 selected (€3.9million)
38% success rate

Measure 2: NETWORKS OF TOWNS

Eligible projects:
  • Projects in which municipalities and associations already linked by a series of town twinning cooperate / work together on a long term basis to explore common themes, share resources or interest, face common challenges.
Applicants:
  • towns/municipalities or their twinning committees or networks, other levels of local/regional authorities, and non-profit organisations representing local authorities
Partners:
  • as above + NGO. A project must involve municipalities from at least 4 eligible countries, of which at least one is an EU Member State and a minimum of 30% of invited participants
Maximum eligible grant for a project: €150,000
Maximum project duration: 24 months, at least 4 events

In 2014:
224 applications received
35 selected (€4.5million)
15.6% success rate

Measure 3: CIVIL SOCIETY PROJECTS

Eligible projects:
  • Projects promoted by transnational partnerships and networks directly involving citizens from different horizons, in activities linked to EU policies, with a view to giving them an opportunity to concretely participate in the EU policy-making process in areas related to the objectives of the Programme
Applicants:
  • non-profit organisations, including civil society organisations, educational, cultural or research institutions
Partners:
  • NOG or public local/regional authorities, town-twinning committees and networks. A project must involve organisations from at least 3 eligible countries, of which at least one is an EU Member State
Maximum eligible grant for a project: €150,000
Maximum project duration: 18 months

In 2014
538 applications received (action grants)
9 selected €3.6 million
5% success rate

Europe for Citizens – Case Study

Pat Mulvenna from the North East Partnership (NEP) gave a presentation with details of how the North East Partnership, a vehicle for local authority collaboration across Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Larne, Moyle and Newtownabbey, had participated in the Europe for Citizens programme.

NEP was one of 5 partners under the ‘network of twinned towns’ measure on the EUPLETT project. EUPLETT - ‘European Urban Planning via public participation and Local Empowerment in networks and Twinning Towns’ - focused on regeneration of town centres.

The five project partners who received funding of €25,000 each were:
  • Falkenberg, Sweden
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Schouwen-Duiveland, The Netherlands
  • Køge, Denmark
  • Ballymena, Northern Ireland
The project objectives were:
  • Gather best practice in creation of vibrant small town centres
  • Increase no. of citizens involved in spatial planning
  • Increase awareness of EU policies and effects at local level
  • Increase competence in EU urban planning & policy via:
    • public participation
    • culture / art
    • spatial planning / environment and design
  • Create a genuine and dynamic network of twinned towns
  • Identify a minimum of 3 new projects ideas within EU 2020 areas
The NEP highlighted a number of key achievements as a result of participation in the Europe for Citizens programme
  • Developed excellent relationships with the project partners – leading to other contacts
  • Best practice visits and workshops in 4 locations
  • 3 conferences held
  • Better understanding of issues within each location
  • Website and blog
  • Youth competition
  • Working on potential future projects:
    • Graffiti Art project (Creative Europe)
    • Competitiveness of tourism focused SME’s (Urbact III)
    • Youth in Democracy (Erasmus +)
Further information