Great momentum for the sector: Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme 2021-2027
A strong civil society to live up to the Union’s values
A strong civil society protects democracy, fundamental rights, and the rule of law. This was recognized by the adoption of the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme 2021-2027 worth 1.55 billion euros. The work programme 2021-2022 will finance actions promoting non-discrimination and gender equality, the rights of the child, European remembrance and citizens’ engagement, as well as combat racism and gender-based violence. The new actions under Union values will strengthen the protection and promotion of the rule of law and democratic dialogue, transparency and good governance, via supporting, empowering and build the capacity of civil society organisations active in the promotion of values and rights, at local, regional, national and transnational level.
As rapporteur MEP Alice Kuhnke (Greens/EFA, Sweden) said during her European Parliament plenary session opening remarks, “I’m extremely proud of the 1.55 billion euros that we have managed to negotiate. We have managed to double the EU financing going to civil societies. This programme is one of the most important tools we have to strengthen and defend our democracies, our rights, and the Union’s fundamental values.” Furthermore, she welcomed the favourable backing of the EU Member States in the Council, where only Hungary and Poland opposed the programme.
The programme will fund a range of activities, such as capacity building, exchanges of good practices, awareness-raising, and studies. Commissioner Didier Reynders (Justice) stated in the Parliament that “The CERV programme will support organisations contributing to ensuring that equality, rule of law and values of the Union are a reality and will mean we can create a favourable environment for civil society organisations which are committed to promoting and protecting the values of the union and in the member states.”
Philanthropy (and wider civil society) receives direct access to the fund – implementation partners are currently being selected
Notably, the procedures are simplified, meaning that the money can be drawn from the fund directly without interference from EU Member States. We were informed that the Commission has issued a restricted tender for a study on the implementation of the programme, and in particular on identifying national organisations that could work as regranters.
The calls for proposals with information on the policy priorities targeted, activities and budget are now published in the Funding & tender opportunities portal. They will soon open for submission, with deadlines indicated in each call:
- Call for proposals to promote equality and to fight against racism, xenophobia and discrimination
- Call for proposals to protect and promote the rights of the child
- Call for proposals limited/restricted to national Data Protection Authorities on reaching out to stakeholders in data protection legislation
- Call for proposals to prevent and combat gender-based violence and violence against children
- Call for proposals on European remembrance
- Call for proposals for Town-Twinning and Networks of Towns (to be published in May)
- Call for proposals for 4-year framework partnership agreements to support European networks, civil society organisations active at EU level and European think tanks in the areas of Union values
- Operating grants to framework partners active in the area of Union values
For additional information please visit CERV programme in the Funding & tender opportunities portal and in DG Justice funding programme webpage. In case you would like to receive updates, please subscribe to DG Justice newsletter on funding opportunities.
A long-term effort bears fruit
Philanthropy Advocacy, alongside its members including the Stefan Batory Foundation and partners from civil society, has advocated for strengthening the EU CERV programme for several years. A strong CERV programme is also one of the core asks included in the European Philanthropy Manifesto, in which we call on the EU to ensure that resources are available for civil society organisations to develop medium to long-term plans to promote fundamental rights, rule of law and democracy, beyond specific time-bound EU related projects, and to sustain watchdog roles and respond to threats.
- European Parliament legislative observatory (2018/0207(COD)): https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2018/0207(COD)&l=en
- European Commission implementing decision (C(2021) 2583 final): https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/1_en_annexe_acte_autonome_part1_v8.pdf
- Philanthropy Advocacy 2 February 2021: https://www.philanthropyadvocacy.eu/news/civil-society-and-philanthropy-want-to-have-a-say-around-eu-rights-and-values-programme-cerv-priorities/
- Philanthropy Advocacy 12 November 2020: https://www.philanthropyadvocacy.eu/news/eu-budget-negotiations-deliver-a-stronger-eu-rights-and-values-fund/