European Years

Every year, the European Union (EU) chooses a topic for a campaign in order to make the European citizens, as well as the national governments, aware of a specific problem.

The decisions regarding the European Year are taken jointly by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, based on a proposal made by the European Commission. There is no precise legal basis for the European Year and that is why the activities are mainly founded on legal texts dealing with the respective topic of the European Year (Source: Europe Direct Contact Centre).

Since 1983, the EU has chosen a theme of action each year to educate the widest possible audience and to attract the attention of governments of Member States on a particular issue, in order to change attitudes or behaviours. The diverse topics are of general interest to the European institutions and Member States, and they are usually subjects of major concern.

European Years constitute an awareness campaign both at the European and national level. The topics are chosen several years in advance by the European authorities, and the European Commission is responsible for their implementation.

2015 - European Year of Development

On April 2, 2014, the European deputies decided that 2015 will be the "European Year of Development". The main objective is to inform the European citizens as well as national governements about the development cooperation of the EU and its member states. Additionally, it is supposed to encourage the direct involvement, critical thinking and active interest of citizens in development cooperation and to give a better understanding that its importance is not only for the beneficiaries but also for the European citizens.

The motto of the European Year will be "Our world, our dignity, our future", thus underscoring that human aspiration and the right to a life in dignity does not stop at the borders of our continent.

For further information: see the text adopted by the European Parliament

List of European Years since 1983

2013 : Citizens
2012 : Active Aging
2011 : Volunteering
2010 : Combating Poverty and Exclusion
2009 : Creativity and Innovation
2008 : Intercultural Dialogue
2007 : Equal Opportunites for All
2006 : Worker's Mobility
2005 : Citizenship through Education
2004 : Education through Sport
2003 : People with Disabilities
2001 : Languages
1999 : Action to Combat Violence Against Women
1998 : Local and Regional Democracy
1997 : Against Racism and Xenophobia
1996 : Lifelong Learning
1995 : Road Safety and Young Drivers
1994 : Nutrition and Health
1993 : Older People and Safety at Work
1992 : Health and Safety at Work
1990 : Tourism
1989 : Information on Cancer
1988 : Cinema and Television
1987 : Environment
1986 : Road Safety
1985 : Music
1984 : A People's Europe
1983 : SMEs and the Craft Industry
More informations about European years on

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European diary

    • 1 may 2017

      International Workers' Day

    • The date was chosen to commemorate the strike in the McCormick factories in Chicago on May 4, 1886 for the legal establishment of the 8 working hours day.
    • 3 may 2017

      Polish National Day

    • The Polish National Day takes place on May 3 in honor of the first Constitution of this country which was adopted on 3 May 1791. The Polish constitution was written by the bourgeois and nobles of the four years diet under the rule of the last king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Stanislas II.

      This constitution was the first constitution voted in Europe. It covered many essential points to reform the institutions and organize the life of the Polish people:

      - it recognized rights to farmers

      - it keeps the hereditary monarchy and its executive power

      - it declared the political rights of representatives

      - it limited the size of the standing army

      - it imposed land management.

      Since then, the 3rd May has become a yearly holiday celebrating the adoption of the Polish constitution.

    • 18 may 2017

      European Maritime Day

    • This day was celebrated for the first time on May 20th, 2008. Every year, this day gives place to activities of raising awareness(sensitization).