The Euro­pean Year of Cit­i­zens in 2013 will focus on the prac­ti­cal rights and advan­tages peo­ple gain from EU cit­i­zen­ship. Among many exam­ples are eas­ier travel, the abil­ity to live, work or study abroad, access to health­care sys­tems in other coun­tries and con­sumer protection.

 The year will be a chance for peo­ple to take part in events and sem­i­nars about how to fully exer­cise these rights – look­ing at obsta­cles encoun­tered and pos­si­ble solu­tions. There will also be dis­cus­sions around the con­ti­nent on EU poli­cies more gen­er­ally and the future of the Euro­pean Union.

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.

The top­ics are cho­sen sev­eral years in advance. They are always of gen­eral inter­est and major con­cern to both the EU insti­tu­tions and mem­ber coun­tries. Top­ics can be sub­mit­ted to the Com­mis­sion by mem­ber gov­ern­ments, civil soci­ety, busi­nesses, or any other stakeholders.

2013 is the Euro­pean Year of Cit­i­zens and it is ded­i­cated to the rights that come with EU cit­i­zen­ship. Over this year, dia­logue is encour­aged between all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, civil soci­ety and busi­ness at events and con­fer­ences around Europe to dis­cuss those EU rights and build a vision of how the EU should be in 2020.

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