First year of the European Citizen’s initiative: the Atlantic view

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A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC coordinator

We celebrate today the first year of the first European Citizen’s initiative, an exceptional day in a singular year, 2013, the European year of Active Citizenship. CAAC has been involved in this scheme since its very inception, with a contribution that explains the stance of Atlantic Arc Cities in citizen’s participation. Gathering experiences all over the Atlantic Area, this position paper has been largely quoted and it is used by EU affairs’ students in their simulations of EU procedures.

Now, two days before CAAC’s General Assembly, we can affirm that this approach has been taken further. Thus, this event will dedicate an interactive session to the issue, focusing on how the EU projects and policies can be better taken to the ground. To the heart of the European Union, its citizens.

Also, several projects have been carried out by the network and the Atlantic Arc Cities. For instance, Town Networking through the Atlantic -TONETA, under the Europe for Citizens Programme. This project intends to foster the synergies created by twinning and joint membership of networks of the cities located in the Atlantic Arc. Networking, from citizens’ to transnational levels, is the fundamental core of the action strategy.

The URBACT method on local action groups has been carried out by cities like Nantes, Rennes, Gijon, Avilés and Santiago de Compostela in projects like SUITE, PREVENT, LC FACIL or JOBTOWN. Moreover, INTERREG Atlantic Area projects like ANATOLE, IMAGINAATLANTICA or KNOW CITIES strongly count on the citizens’ input, creating working groups that orientate the action.

Finally, building on the mutual exchanges among Aviles and Saint Nazaire, CAAC together with the former has proposed an innovative action for exchange on EU policies in the Atlantic Arc: CAPEA – Active Citizens for Atlantic Europe, using the online tools and geographical identity to create awareness on EU citizenship.

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