European years have address specific subjects to encourage debate and dialogue within and between countries.
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.
It is proposed by the Commission and adopted by the European Parliament and EU member governments.