The Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV)

The European Union recognizes that twinning is a very important means to help people understand the aims of the EU, to develop a stronger sense of European identity, and to bring the EU closer to its citizens.

In 1989, on the initiative of the European Parliament, a European twinning programme was launched for the first time, and subsequent twinning programmes have provided an important source of funding for twinning.

The Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme was launched in 2021 and will run for seven years until 2027.

The CERV programme builds on the successes of two programmes which existed from 2014 to 2020: the Europe for Citizens programme  and the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme

The CERV programme aims to protect and promote rights and values as enshrined in the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It seeks to support and further develop open, rights-based, democratic, equal and inclusive societies based on the rule of law, by supporting civil society organisations and other stakeholders active at local, regional, national and transnational level, and by encouraging civic, democratic and social participation. It finances various types of action: training activities, capacity building, mutual learning, workshops, experts’ meetings, conferences; awareness-raising and dissemination activities, media campaigns; analytical activities, such as studies, researches, surveys and evaluations; support for European networks, civil society.

The CERV programme consists of four strands:

1.     Union values - protect and promote Union values

2.     Equality, Rights and Gender Equality - promoting rights, non-discrimination, equality (including gender equality), and advancing gender and non-discrimination mainstreaming

3.     Citizens' engagement and participation - promoting citizens engagement and participation in the democratic life of the Union, exchanges between citizens of different Member States, and raising awareness of the common European history

4.     Daphne - fight violence, including gender-based violence

In particular, the third strand includes funds related to:

-        Network of Towns (CERV-2023-CITIZENS-TOWN-NT) projects, which are aimed at deepening and intensifying the cooperation between municipalities and their citizens in a long-term perspective and developing more thematic and policy-related activities. 


-        Town-Twinning (CERV-2023-CITIZENS-TOWN-TT) projects, which are more citizen-oriented and small-scaled, aimed at offering the opportunity to discover the cultural diversity of the European Union and making citizens aware that European values and cultural heritage constitute the foundation for a common future. 

Read more about networks of towns and the town-twinning funding opportunities on the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme website