This article has been updated regarding funding in equal opportunities.
After mobility in 2006, 2007 will emphasise equal opportunities for all as one of the main mottos of the European Union.
The initiative should lead to a European strategy addressing non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all.
The activities undertaken during the year will focus on discrimination based on race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability, all can be addressed at European level. They will be structured around four themes:
Rights - raising awareness on the right to equality and non-discrimination;
Representation - increasing the participation in society of groups that are discriminated against;
Recognition - celebrating diversity and equality;
Respect - promoting a more cohesive society;
They will comprise local, regional and national initiatives, as well as European activities such as an "Equality summit", with ministers, social partners and non-governmental organisations, a European-wide survey on Europeans’ attitudes towards discrimination, a pan-European campaign on European anti-discrimination policies and legislation.
Each Member State is also required to present the European Commission with a strategy for the Year.
Discrimination was recognised as an important pillar of the Green Paper on Mental Health. Access to healthcare could also be targeted within the framework of the Year of Equal Opportunities, as well as discrimination suffered by people with HIV/AIDS.
Most of the initiatives will take place at local and regional levels. NGOs can contact the National implementing bodies which are in charge of coordinating the projects.
With regard to funding, the European institutions can finance projects up to a maximum ceiling of 50%. (Projects can include a conference, publications, etc). There is no call for proposals centralised from Brussels planned.
The Open Society Institute (OSI) has set up a matching fund for projects funded at EU or national level under the umbrella of the European Year 2007. The matching fund is part of OSI’s support for the Decade of Roma Inclusion, 2005-2015.
In order to be eligible for matching funding, OSI is looking for the following criteria:
Projects which have a clear Roma component
Roma must be involved in the design and implementation of the project
Preference will be given to projects which are linked to the Decade of Roma Inclusion.
For more information please read the official European Year of Equal Opportunities 2007: OSI Roma Decade Matching Fund fact sheet.
The European Foundation Centre has drafted a report entitled "Funding in Equal Opportunities: A Selective Overview" highlighting examples of independent and corporate funders’ contributions to equal opportunities and non-discrimination. For more information visit their website.