Making citizenship work: programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation
The Commission proposes developing European citizenship as a main priority for EU action. To this end, it is necessary to make citizenship a reality. With this in mind, the Commission Communication proposes to update and modify several programmes due to end in 2006. These are programmes in the fields of youth, culture, audiovisual and civic participation.
Communication from the Commission - Making citizenship work: fostering European culture and diversity through programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation [COM(2004) 154 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The concept of "European citizenship" was established by the Maastricht Treaty, which specifies that citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace National citizenship. The reality is that many citizens regard the Union as merely a remote political and economic entity. With the enlargements of 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia) and 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania), the total population of the Union will approach 500 million, representing an immense richness of cultural, social and linguistic diversity. In light of these developments, Europe's citizens must have an opportunity to experience a feeling of belonging to the Union.
Action to promote EU citizenship will consist of four strands:
- civic participation.
The aim of these measures is to update and modernise several programmes which are scheduled to end in 2006.
Actions in the field ofyouth
The aim of the new Youth programme is to promote experiences of European citizenship among young people aged 13 to 30. It is also intended to promote solidarity and develop young people's sense of initiative, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.
In order to achieve these objectives, the programme will include five separate and complementary strands:
- Youth for Europe: exchanges, mobility and initiatives for young people;
- European Voluntary Service: it is planned that 10 000 volunteers per year will take part in a non-profit-making or unpaid activity in another Member State or third country;
- Youth of the World: the programme will be open to cooperation with third countries;
- socio-educational instructors and support systems: training, information, exchange of best practice among instructors;
- support for political cooperation: cooperation on youth policy.
These programmes are planned for the period 2007-2013.
Actions in the field ofculture
The programme which will follow on from Culture 2000 will focus on certain priorities: the transnational mobility of people working in the cultural sector, the transnational circulation of works of art, and intercultural dialogue.
Three strands of action are planned:
- direct support for cultural cooperation projects (around 1 400 projects are envisaged for the period 2007-2013, including 80 multiannual cultural cooperation focal points);
- support for European cultural cooperation organisations (each year, around 50 networks or organisations of European interest);
- support for studies and information on cultural cooperation issues.
The overall result will be hundreds of European cultural operators working together each year on a transnational basis and reaching millions of citizens.
Actions in theaudiovisualsector
MEDIA 2007 is intended to replace the two current programmes MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training. Its global objectives will be to preserve and enhance European cultural diversity and audiovisual heritage, increase the circulation of European audiovisual works and make the sector more competitive.
The programme will support projects in the pre-production (acquiring skills and competence, development) and post-production (distribution, promotion, pilot projects/digital technology) phases.
MEDIA 2007 will aim to bring together 1 500 audiovisual operators each year and to increase the market share of European films distributed outside their country of origin from the current 11% to 20% by 2013.
The civic participation programme has just been launched and will be concluded at the end of 2006. However, it would be premature at this stage to outline specific proposals. A legislative proposal will be tabled by the European Commission in early 2005.
The objectives of the programme are to promote the values and objectives of the Union, to bring citizens closer to the EU and to encourage them to engage more frequently with its institutions. The programme is intended for all those involved in civil society and it aims to involve citizens closely in reflection and discussion on the construction of the European Union, to intensify links and exchanges between citizens from the countries participating in the programme, for example through town-twinning, and to encourage initiatives from bodies involved in promoting active and participatory citizenship.