Open letter to EU heads of states & governments: Nearly 100 European and national NGOs join forces to call for a properly funded ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme

1 July 2013

The EU supports citizens by co-funding civil society organisations’ general budgets and specific projects through the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme. These activities and programmes take the form of transnational partnerships, European civil society networks, citizens’ events, town twinning projects, and remembrance initiatives.

The European Commission has already proposed a 5% reduction for the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme in the 2014 – 2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). Civil society organisations had agreed not to oppose this proposal in acknowledgement of increasingly limited resources during this difficult economic period. However, at the European summit in March 2013, the Heads of State and National Governments demanded even greater cuts, amounting to a reduction of 23% over the next seven years. This leaves a budget of 164m euros for the 2014 – 2020 period, as compared to around 210m euros between 2007 – 2013. In other words, current proposals call for a reduction of 7m euros per annum, stripped from an already limited annual budget of 30m euros.

It is unacceptable that while the EU celebrates the European Year of Citizens in 2013 (with the lowest ever dedicated budget for a European Year), the Council proposes to deny the ‘Europe for Citizens programme’ almost one quarter of its already extremely small budget.


  • A properly funded ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme in the 2014 – 2020 MFF to properly recognise and support the role that civil society organisations play in the construction of the European project as envisaged in article 11 of the Lisbon Treaty;

  • A well-financed ‘Europe for Citizens’programme,properly monitored and implemented with respect to good governance,transparency regulations and frameworks. We further ask the Council to reverse the proposed budget reductions.We also call for further implementation of this principlein other EU programmes enabling organised civil societyto have a voice in the decisions affecting EU citizens;

  • All civil society organisations should raise this issue with their national governments and Members of the European Parliament, especially those who sit on the European Parliament budget committee. The respective positions taken by both the Council and Parliament on this matter should be made known to the citizens of Europe, and visibility given to the extent to which citizens are truly deemed to beat the heart of Europe.

Find the full letter and see all the signatories here


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