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European years

2015 is European Year for Development - the first time a European Year has focussed on the European Union's international development policy. It is a landmark year in 2 respects:

  • The Millennium Development Goals will be reaching their conclusion.
  • The international community will be coming together to agree on a new course of action to end poverty, promote sustainable development and address climate change.

The aim of the European Year for Development is to involve EU citizens, especially young people, in the debate about our world, our dignity, our future. We are calling on everyone to play an active part. There will be activities throughout the European Union, and the Development Year will be featured online and in social media.

More on the European Year for Development

A European Year – every year since 1983

The very first European Year, in 1983, was dedicated to small business ("SMEs") and craft industry. Every year since, the EU has chosen a specific subject to encourage debate and dialogue within and between European countries.

Why European Years?

The aim is to raise awareness of certain topics, encourage debate and change attitudes. During many European years, extra funding is provided for local, national and cross-border projects that address the Year's special topic.

The European Year can also send a strong commitment and political signal from the EU institutions and member governments that the subject will be taken into consideration in future policy-making. In some cases, the European Commission may propose new legislation on the theme.

How is the theme of a European Year chosen?

It is proposed by the Commission and adopted by the European Parliament and EU member governments.

List of European Years

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