Under the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union, the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) has granted financial support for the project of the Slovenian Paneuropean Movement (SPM) entitled Joint Citizens’ Forces—Common European Future (JOCICEF). This is the second project of the SPM that was recognised by the European Commission as important for the future and the functioning of the European Union.

The European Union has reached a breaking point. It has never been faced with so many life-threatening challenges to its existence since 1957. Political disunity on key issues for the EU (Brexit, instability in the neighbourhood, the refugee crisis, security challenges, etc.) is driving nation states and citizens towards more nation-focused policies. Social challenges (e.g. youth unemployment) play a major role in the growing distrust towards European integration. These elements have largely contributed to the rise of Euroscepticism across the EU. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center analysis, Euroscepticism has increased dramatically in the EU (reaching 47% of those unfavourable to the EU). In addition, the EU has been weakened by the rise of extreme right- and left-wing parties, which are winning (regional and national) elections.

Due to citizens’ mistrust in EU institutions and decision makers, we have to build on a strong bottom-up approach, empower the citizens and civil society organisations to be able to understand the importance of continuing on the path of European integration. Moreover, building trust and fostering mutual cooperation between citizens and policy makers is crucial for the future of the EU.

The aim of the project is to attract and engage European citizens and civil society organisations in structural dialogue with EU policy and decision makers on how to reduce Euroscepticism and spread the realisation that European integration is still necessary. Particular focus will be put on increasing the level of understanding of the EU policy-making process, how to transform and translate citizens’ ideas and needs in the EU decision-making process, how to improve the communication channels between citizens, civil society organisations and decision makers, and thereby contribute to a strong and unified European Union.

Project timeline

Start of the project: 1 September 2017
End of the project: 28 February 2019

Project partners

  • Slovenian Paneuropean Movement (Slovenia)
  • Austrian Paneuropean Movement (Austria)
  • Paneuropean Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Hungarian Paneuropean Union (Hungary)
  • Montenegrin Paneuropean Union (Montenegro)
  • Mediterranean Affairs (Italy)
  • NATO Defense College Foundation (Italy)
  • Centre for European Policy Studies (Belgium)
  • Transform – Centre for Conflict Engagement and Political Development (Germany)
  • Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (Spain)
  • DIVERSITY (Slovakia)
  • Europe’s People’s Forum (Denmark)