At a time when citizens are expressing an ever growing distrust in EU Institutions and policies, and in spite of the widely propagated ideas (by the EU Institutions) that the EU has citizens at its heart and that civil society is valued as a crucial partner, the European Council seems to be expressing an opposing view.
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.
However, at the European summit in March 2013, the Heads of State and National Governments demanded a reduction of 23% of the programmes budget over the next seven years.
We find it 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.
We ask the Council to reverse the proposed budget reductions to continue to work in partnership with the EU institutions and other stakeholders to pursue the European building process so that it fully meets the expectations of the people of the European Union for a stronger, more cohesive Europe.
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