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Call: Networks of Towns

Acronym CERV
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme"

The general objective of the Programme is to protect and promote rights and values as enshrined in the Treaties, the Charter and the applicable international human rights conventions, in particular by supporting civil society organisations and other stakeholders active at local, regional, national and transnational level, and by encouraging civic and democratic participation, in order to sustain and further develop open, rights-based, democratic, equal and inclusive societies which are based on the rule of law.

Furthermore, the Programme shall have the following specific objectives, which correspond to strands:

  1. to protect and promote Union values (Union values strand);
  2. to promote rights, non-discrimination and equality, including gender equality, and to advance gender mainstreaming and the mainstreaming of non-discrimination (equality, rights and gender equality strand);
  3. to promote citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic life of the Union and exchanges between citizens of different Member States, and to raise awareness of their common European history (citizens’ engagement and participation strand);
  4. to fight violence, including gender-based violence (Daphne strand).

Union values strand

The Union values strand shall focus on protecting, promoting and raising awareness of rights by providing financial support to civil society organisations which are active at local, regional, national and transnational level in promoting and cultivating those rights, thereby also strengthening the protection and promotion of Union values and 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 strand

The equality, rights and gender equality strand shall focus on:

  1. promoting equality and preventing and combating inequalities and discrimination based on 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 Charter;
  2. supporting, advancing and implementing comprehensive policies aimed at:
    1. promoting women’s full enjoyment of rights; gender equality, including work-life balance; women’s empowerment; and gender mainstreaming;
    2. promoting non-discrimination and the mainstreaming thereof;
    3. combating racism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance, including homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, interphobia and intolerance on the basis of gender identity, both online and offline;
    4. protecting and promoting the rights of the child;
    5. protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities;
  3. protecting and promoting Union citizenship rights and the right to the protection of personal data.

Citizens’ engagement and participation strand

The citizens’ engagement and participation strand shall focus on:

  1. supporting projects aimed at remembering defining moments in modern European history, such as the coming to power of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, including the causes and consequences thereof, and projects aimed at raising awareness among European citizens of their common history, culture, cultural heritage and values, thereby enhancing their understanding of the Union, of its origins, purpose, diversity and achievements and of the importance of mutual understanding and tolerance;
  2. promoting citizens’ and representative associations’ participation in and contribution to the democratic and civic life of the Union by enabling them to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action;
  3. promoting exchanges between citizens of different countries, in particular through town-twinning and networks of towns, so as to afford them practical experience of the richness and diversity of the common heritage of the Union and to make them aware that such richness and diversity constitute a solid foundation for a common future.

Daphne strand

The Daphne strand shall focus on:

  1. preventing and combating at all levels all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls and domestic violence, including 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);
  2. preventing and combating all forms of violence against children, young people and other groups at risk, such as LGBTIQ persons and persons with disabilities;
  3. supporting and protecting all direct and indirect victims of the forms of violence referred to in points (1) and (2), such as the victims of domestic violence perpetrated within the family or within intimate relationships, including children orphaned as a result of domestic crimes, and supporting and ensuring the same level of protection throughout the Union for victims of gender-based violence.
Link Link to Programme
Networks of Towns
Description of call
"Networks of Towns"


  • To promote exchanges between citizens of different countries;
  • To give citizens the opportunity to discover the cultural diversity of the European Union and to make them aware that European values and cultural heritage constitute the foundation for a common future;
  • To guarantee peaceful relations between Europeans and to ensure their active participation at the local level;
  • To reinforce mutual understanding and friendship between European citizens;
  • To encourage cooperation between municipalities and the exchange of best practices;To support good local governance and reinforce the role of local and regional authorities in the European integration process.

It is expected that Networks of Towns projects reflect on a new narrative for Europe, citizen-oriented, equality promoting, forward-looking and constructive that would be more engaging for the younger generation in particular. Projects may be based on the outcome of citizens’ consultations and may lead to debates about concrete ways to create a more democratic Union, to enable citizens to re-engage with the EU and to develop a stronger sense of ownership of the European project.

Networks of Towns should provide towns and municipalities the possibility to deepen and intensify their cooperation and debate in a long-term perspective, to develop sustainable networks and to outline their long-term vision for the future of European integration.


While maintaining a bottom-up approach, specific focus could be given to:

  • Strengthening the European and democratic dimension of the EU decision-making process

Networks of Towns are invited to develop projects which reinforce democratic governance by supporting citizens’ active involvement in European political life and the exercise of their electoral rights. These projects would help countering low turnout in elections, populism, disinformation and challenges facing civil society;

  • Supporting free and fair elections in Europe,

In view of the European elections of 2024, Networks of Towns are invited to work on the preservation of the EU's democratic institutions and on citizens’ participation in them. Coordination within and among relevant networks could lead in particular to the establishment of common working methods, capacity building to detect and address threats to elections, elaboration of models of good practice and guidelines.

  • Fostering a sense of belonging to Europe by promoting the debate on the future of Europe

Networks of Towns could give citizens the opportunity to express what kind of Europe they want. Debates should be based on the concrete achievements of the European Union and on lessons learnt from history. Such debates may as well suggest actions that the European Union could undertake to foster a sense of belonging to Europe, to understand the benefits of the European Union and to reinforce the EU's social and political cohesion. Networks of towns are encouraged to respond to the objectives of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

  • Reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the ways in which our democracies and civic participation function. The need to prevent the spread of the contagion led to the imposition of strong restrictions on individual and collective freedom. Networks of Towns are encouraged to reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the life within and the functioning of local communities as well as on the forms that civic participation takes under the COVID-19 crisis.

Expected Impact:

  • To offer towns and municipalities the opportunity to develop larger-scale projects with the aim of increasing their projects’ impact and sustainability;
  • To allow beneficiaries to develop more thematic and policy-related projects;
  • To forge lasting links with partner organisations;
  • To raise awareness of the benefits of diversity and to tackle discrimination and racism;
  • To increase and encourage mutual understanding and acceptance towards European minorities, such as Roma;
  • To raise awareness on the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights and its application and promote a culture of fundamental rights;
  • To improve information on the rights conferred by EU citizenship and improve their implementation in Member States;
  • To raise awareness and better provision of information to mobile EU citizens and their family members on their EU citizenship rights.
Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Children & Youth, Education & Training, Demographic Change, Migration, Art & Culture, Cultural Heritage, History, Media, Administration & Governance, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Health, Social Affairs, Sports
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, NGO / NPO, National Government, Association, Public Services, Other
Applicant details In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • non-EU countries: EEA countries and countries associated to the CERV Programme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature
  • Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).
  • EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of at least 5 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), which complies with the following conditions:
  • entities are municipalities from at least 5 eligible countries of which at least 3 are EU Member States.
  • for the applicant and partners: be a public body or a non-profit organisation: towns/municipalities and/or other levels of local authorities or their twinning committees or other non-profit organisations representing local authorities.
  • activities must take place in at least two different eligible programme countries.
Project duration min 12 months
Project duration max 24 months
Further info Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:
  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants  and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
  • Part C (to be filled in directly online) containing additional project data including mandatory indicators
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • list of previous projects (key projects for the last 4 years)
    • for participants with activities involving children: their child protection policy covering the four areas described in the Keeping Children Safe Child Safeguarding Standards
    • lump sum calculator
    • a letter of support signed by the Municipality (applicable to applicants and partners under the category “Non for profit organisation representing a local authority”).
Proposals are limited to maximum 70 pages (Part B).
Type of Funding Grants
Financial details The available call budget is EUR 6,500,000.

The grant parameters (maximum grant amount, funding rate, total eligible costs, etc) will be fixed in the Grant Agreement (Data Sheet, point 3 and art 5). The grant will be a lump sum grant. This means that it will reimburse a fixed amount, based on a lump sum or financing not linked to costs.

Project budget (maximum grant amount): no limit.
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Contact Details

Technical Secretariat

For the  strands "Union Values" and "Citizens’ engagement and participation": Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

For the strands "Equality, rights and gender equality" and "Daphne": Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission.
Email: EC-CERV-CALLS@ec.europa

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