3 Europe for Citizens Programme 2007-2013
|Committee's decision||Not cleared from scrutiny; further information awaited
|Document details||Commission Report on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the Europe for Citizens programme 2007-2013
|Department||Culture, Media and Sport
|Document Numbers||(37412), 14823/15 + ADDs 1-2, COM(15) 652
Summary and Committee's conclusions
3.1 The report assesses implementation of the Europe for Citizens
Programme (EFCP) 2007-13, which was established in order to
bring citizens closer to the EU and to enable citizens to participate
fully in the development of the Union, while emphasising the essential
values that are shared by EU citizens.
3.2 The Commission concludes that the long term impact
of the EFCP is difficult to assess, but that the programme reached
large numbers of citizens (seven million direct participants)
who otherwise would not have been engaged with the EU. The Commission
notes that the higher quality and larger projects over the final
three years of the programme were evidence of its "augmented"
3.3 The Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy
(Mr Edward Vaizey) does not believe that the report effectively
assesses the programme's value for money and added value and the
degree to which it ensured maximum EU public accountability.
3.4 When the previous Committee considered the proposed
successor Programme (2014-20), the Committee questioned the justification
for EU expenditure in this area.
3.5 This report is not in itself of great consequence
as it relates to the completed 2007-13 programme. Nevertheless,
that programme was succeeded by the 2014-20 programme, about which
our predecessors expressed some reservations. We note the Minister's
concern about the lack of effective assessment of the 2007-13
programme's value for money. We would welcome an assurance that
he will be working to ensure that assessment of the current programme
is more robust. The interim evaluation in 2017 will be particularly
essential with a view to giving consideration to funding plans
for the period after 2020.
3.6 We retain the report under scrutiny.
Full details of
the documents: Commission
Report on the implementation, results and overall assessment
of the Europe for Citizens programme 2007-2013: (37412), 14823/15
+ ADDs 1-2, COM(15) 652.
3.7 The Europe for Citizens Programme (EFCP) was
established in December 2006 for a period of seven years (2007-13).
It was designed, explains the Commission, "to support a wide
range of activities and organisations promoting active citizenship
through the involvement of individual citizens, local authorities
and civil society organisations in the process of European integration".
3.8 The EFCP's stated specific objectives were:
together people from local communities across Europe to share
and exchange experiences, opinions and values, to learn from history
and to build for the future;
action, debate and reflection related to European citizenship
and democracy, shared values, common history and culture through
cooperation within civil society organisations at European level;
Europe closer to its citizens by promoting Europe's values and
achievements, while preserving the memory of its past; and
interaction between citizens and civil society organisations from
all participating countries, contributing to intercultural dialogue
and bringing to the fore both Europe's diversity and unity, with
particular attention to activities aimed at developing closer
ties between citizens from Member States of the European Union
as constituted on 30 April 2004 and those from Member States which
have acceded since that day."
3.9 The actions under the programme were:
citizens for Europe" (largely town twinning);
civil society in Europe" (support to think tanks and civil
society with a view to strengthening their ability to operate
at European level);
for Europe" (making European citizens aware of European history
and of the achievements and values of the European Union through
high-profile events, studies and a network of contact points);
European Remembrance" (Holocaust memorials and commemorating
the victims of Stalin's deportations).
The Commission's report
3.10 The report fulfils an obligation on the Commission
to provide an overall assessment of the EFCP 2007-13. The financial
envelope for the implementation of the EFCP over seven years was
215 million (£158 million). The European Commission
notes that the budget "was largely criticised for being too
modest when compared to the ambitious objectives and high expectations
on programme outcomes". Among the four actions, the largest
proportion of the budget (at least 45%) was devoted to town twinning.
3.11 The documents show that, in 2007, just under
5% of the projects submitted came from the UK and in 2013 around
2%. Between them, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy and Poland submitted
70% of the projects in 2007, decreasing to 54% by 2013. Luxembourg,
Denmark and Portugal had minimal participation in the programme.
The Commission attributed this to the absence of dedicated Europe
for Citizens Contact Points in those countries.
3.12 The programme reached seven million direct participants
and almost 25,000 towns and cities in Europe and it created 350
networks of towns and cities around common issues. 4,250 civil
society organisations were mobilised to meet citizens' concerns.
More than 500 organisations were involved in remembrance activities.
3.13 The Commission concludes:
"The Europe for Citizens Programme 2007-2013
triggered a lot of interest amongst citizens, as the steady growth
in number of applications clearly shows. Citizens are eager to
take part in discussions and to have their say in EU policies
that affect their daily lives. Considering European citizenship
as an important element in strengthening and safeguarding the
process of European integration, the European Commission used
EFCP to give citizens this opportunity and more generally to encourage
their engagement in the European project. This approach was based
on the idea that participation helps strengthening awareness on
EU issues, developing mutual understanding and identification
with Europe, and therefore contributes to consolidating the long-term
process of European integration.
"Even if the long-term impact of the EFCP
is difficult to assess, the programme effectively fostered civic
participation and democratic engagement and reached large numbers
of citizens who otherwise would not have been engaged with the
European project. As the only EU programme that targets citizens
directly the EFCP provided a unique forum to involve ordinary
citizens in the EU through a bottom-up approach. Over the final
three years of the programme, the fact that the projects were
of higher quality and larger in scale, with closer links to the
main themes associated with citizenship and civic participation
and that many first time participants were involved considerably
augmented its impact. In future, and taking into account the budgetary
requirements, the programme will continue to be developed with
a view to maximise its impact and deploy its funding strategically
focussing on activities targeting citizens directly.
"The interim evaluation of the successor
programme Europe for Citizens 2014-2020 due in December 2017 will
be used to verify in how far the evaluation recommendations of
the ex-post evaluation have been followed."
The Minister's Explanatory Memorandum of 15 January
3.14 The Minister observes that no new policy implications
arise from this report, but that the report raises "issues
around perceptions of the benefits of the EFCP that are at no
point challenged". He adds: "The report does not effectively
assess the programme for performance, which is to ensure maximum
value for money and added value, and to ensure maximum EU public
Previous Committee Reports
18 Twenty-fifth Report HC 83-xxii (2013-14), chapter 1
(27 November 2013). Back