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Citizens, Equality, Rights & Values

Overall budget available

The total budget of the Citizens, Equality, Rights & Values programme is €766,3 billion.

What is the goal of the funding programme?

The Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme (CERV) aims to protect and promote European Union rights and values as enshrined in the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It strives to support the creation and improvement of societies that are open, fair, democratic, equal, and inclusive, and operate under the principles of the rule of law. That includes a vibrant and empowered civil society, encouraging people's democratic, civic, and social participation, and cultivating the rich diversity of European society, based on our common values, history and memory.

How is the funding programme structured?

The CERV programme consists of four strands supporting and developing open, rights-based, democratic, equal and inclusive societies based on the rule of law.

What thematic areas are covered?

  • Union values - protect and promote Union values: focus on protecting, promoting and raising awareness on rights by providing financial support to civil society organisations active at local, regional and transnational level in promoting and cultivating these rights, thereby also strengthening the protection and promotion of Union values and the respect for the rule of law and contributing to the construction of a more democratic Union, democratic dialogue, transparency and good governance.
  • Equality, Rights and Gender Equality: Projects in this area will:
    • Prevent and combat inequalities and discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation and respecting the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds provided for in Article 21 of the EU Charter.
    • Promote women’s full enjoyment of rights, gender equality, including work-life balance, women’s empowerment, and gender mainstreaming.
    • Combat all forms of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, afrophobia, antisemitism, anti-gypsism, anti-muslim hatred, and other forms of intolerance, including homophobia and other forms of intolerance based on gender identity both online and offline.
    • Protect and promote the rights of the child, awareness raising of children rights in judicial proceedings, capacity-building of child protection systems.
    • Protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities, for their active inclusion and full participation in society.
    • Tackle the challenges related to the protection of personal data and data protection reform, as well as to support the stakeholder dialogue in this area.
    • Support the efforts to enable people to exercise their rights as EU citizens and enforce free movement rights, as well as tackling the abuse of those rights.
  • Citizens' engagement and participation: Projects in this area will:
    • Remember, research, and educate about defining events in recent European history, including the causes and consequences of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, and at raising awareness among European citizens, of their common history, culture, cultural heritage and values, thereby enhancing their understanding of the Union, its origins, purpose and diversity.
    • Promote citizens and representative associations’ participation in and contribution to the democratic and civic life of the Union by making known and publicly exchanging their views in all areas on Union action.
    • Promote exchanges between citizens of different countries, in particular through town-twinning and networks of towns, so as to afford them practical experience of the wealth and diversity of the common heritage of the Union and to make them aware that these constitute the foundation for a common future.
  • Daphne - fight violence, including gender-based violence and violence against children: Projects in this area will:
    • Prevent and combat at all levels all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls and domestic violence, also by promoting the standards laid down in the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (The Istanbul Convention).
    • Preventing and combating all forms of violence against children, young people, as well as violence against other groups at risk, such as individuals identifying as LGBTQI+ and persons with disabilities.
    • Support and protect all direct and indirect victims of such violence, such as domestic violence exerted within the family or violence in intimate relationships, including children orphaned by domestic crimes, and supporting and ensuring the same level of protection throughout the Union for victims of gender-based violence.

What is in it for the social economy?

CERV is a programme designed to promote fundamental rights and equality, fight violence but also to promote citizens’ engagement and defend the “European values”.

Specific social economy organisations that encourage democratic, civic, and social participation, that cultivate and promote diversity in society, that promote European common history are good fit to receive support from the CERV programme. CERV is particularly relevant for you if you are a European network of civil society organisations, civil society organisations active at EU level and European think-tanks.

Who is eligible to apply?

Civil society organisations active at local, regional, national, and transnational level, as well as other stakeholders, can apply to receive CERV funding for initiatives aimed at citizens’ engagement, equality for all and the protection and promotion of rights and EU values.

How to apply?

Thus, the CERV programme offers grants, tenders and prizes on an ongoing basis. Find all the opportunities on the Funding and Tenders portal.

You can find the most recent work programme at the bottom of the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme page.

Where to find more information?

How to contact organisations who manage the programme?

Many countries also have a national contact point to help applicants and beneficiaries with questions and issues related to the CERV programme. You can view the list of CERV Contact Points here (under documents).

Organisations who provide support?

Your national or regional authorities, networks, and incubators are the best entry points to access to tailor-made information regarding your needs!

Background information

History of the programme

The 2021-27 CERV programme is the result of merging two funding programmes from the 2014-2020 MFF, namely the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme and the Europe for Citizens programme, which had both a strong societal focus and were clearly related to the promotion of rights and EU values.

Responsible Directorate-General in the European Commission

CERV is implemented under direct management by the Commission, under the lead of the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers. The implementation of some initiatives is entrusted to the European Education and Culture Executive Agency.


2021 - 2027