The Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union

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 European Commission, which oversees the programme, organises consultation meetings with the CEMR twinning network, to discuss how the twinning grant process is going, and to receive feedback on their proposals for the future.

The Europe for Citizens programme 2014-2020

Under the overall aim of bringing Europe closer to its citizens, the Europe for Citizens Programme 2014-2020 of DG Home Affairs of the European Commission aims at contributing to the understanding about the European Union while fostering active citizenship and improving conditions for civic participation at Union level. In addition, the specific objectives of the programme are:

1. To raise awareness of remembrance, common history and values and the Union's aim that is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples by stimulating debate, reflection and development of networks;

2. To encourage democratic and civic participation of citizens at Union level, by developing citizens' understanding of the Union policy making-process and promoting opportunities for societal engagement and volunteering at Union level.

The 2014-2020 programme is more focused than its predecessor. The structure consists of two thematic strands - instead of the 4 actions of the previous programme: 

- "European remembrance" and;
- "Democratic engagement and civic participation"

To select projects, the following award criteria are applied:

• Consistency with the objectives of the action and of the programme,
• Quality of the work programme,
• Dissemination of results,
• Impact and involvement of citizens.

The majority of funding opportunities for a projects under a twinning agreement fall under the second strand (Democratic engagement and civic participation), allocated with 60% of the total budget approximately.

In this respect, the two main twinning-related activities that the programme will fund are:

1. Town twinning – supporting projects bringing together citizens from twinned towns. By mobilising citizens at local and EU levels to debate on concrete issues from the European political agenda, this measure will seek to promote civic participation in the EU policy making process and develop opportunities for societal engagement and volunteering at EU level.

2. Networks of towns – providing funding to municipalities and associations working together on a common theme in a long term perspective, and wishing to develop networks of towns to make their cooperation more sustainable.

Read more about networks of towns and the town-twinning funding opportunities in the agency website that manages the Programme:

In addition, when applying for a grant, it is very important to read the Programme Guide in order to know the concrete details about the “Call for proposals”, the deadlines to apply and the multianual priorities that need to be followed when designing a project.

*If you want to apply for a project within the first strand of the Programme on “European Remembrance” please visit:

The programme guide and the Commission website provide all the practical information on how to receive financial support. The programme is open to the 28 EU member States, but also, with certain conditions, to members of the European Free Trade Association (including Iceland, and Norway), to EU “candidate countries” and to the countries of the western Balkans.

The practical implementation of the EU twinning and citizenship programme – e.g. selection of successful proposals, grant payments etc., is carried out by a specialist Executive Agency. Its website includes a useful set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and their answers.