Safeguarding EU citizens’ fundamental rights through EU Funds

Article written by Kurt Cortis, Executive at Servizzi Ewropej f'Malta

Published in The Malta Independent

EU citizenship garners with it several fundamental rights and responsibilities, as well as benefits, such as the freedom of movement, the freedom of settlement and employment across the EU. Moreover, the EU promotes and safeguards what it considers as an integral part of the European way of life: the values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law and human rights. Although we may take them for granted, these rights and benefits improve our daily lives.

With the new 2021–2027 programming period for EU funds came a new EU Funding programme seeking to safeguard the rights and values as enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the EU Treaties: The Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme. The aim of this funding programme is to sustain and further develop European societies based on rights, democracy, equality, inclusiveness and rule of law.

With a €1.55 billion budget, the CERV programme integrates the now defunct Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme and the Europe for Citizens programme. CERV seeks to tackle common European issues such as discrimination, racism, and gender equality, whilst also promoting matters such as data protection, citizens’ participation and common European heritage. Specifically, the programme sets out four objectives:

Firstly, the programme will seek to protect, promote and raise awareness on Union values by providing financial support to civil society organisations.

Secondly, the programme will seek to fund projects tackling equality, discrimination, personal data and citizens’ rights, particularly those of disadvantaged persons.

Thirdly, the programme will seek to raise awareness on common history, cultural heritage and EU values by promoting citizens’ participation in and contribution to the democratic and civic life of the Union.

Lastly, the programme will seek to fund projects which aim to support and protect all direct and indirect victims of violence, including domestic and gender-based, as well as violence against children, young people and other groups at risk.

A number of calls for proposals are published each year under CERV, each seeking to fund projects tackling different objectives. At present, there are two forthcoming calls, one of them relating to ‘Citizens’ engagement and participation’ which is expected to open by the end of this year. The aim of this call is to support the transnational partnerships and collaboration between a diverse range of people from different backgrounds in activities directly linked to EU policies. In doing so, participants have the opportunity to actively participate in the EU policymaking process and contribute directly to the democratic and civic life of the Union.

Projects can involve a myriad of activities to ensure the achievement of the above objectives. Projects may include training activities which promote societal engagement, such as debates, mutual learning, workshops, seminars and conferences; campaigns for awareness raising or dissemination; and analytical activities to gather opinions, such as studies and surveys.

The deadline for this call is February 10, 2022. Private non-profit entities, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) may apply as lead partner. Any non-profit entity or local council may be included as a partner. The project must involve organisations from at least three organisations from three different eligible countries.

Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta (SEM) assists local organisations such as government entities, local councils and NGOs to access EU-funding opportunities. Once a project is selected for funding, SEM can also assist in the implementation of the project.

For more information on this call, the CERV programme or any other matter related to the EU, kindly contact SEM on or 2200 3300.