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European Years

European Years are years which are given a theme, usually to raise awareness across the EU about a particular subject. During this year, various events and projects are organised on this theme to encourage debate and mobilise individuals, groups of individuals, businesses and other parties, such as non-governmental organisations. The European Year may be followed up with policy initiatives or legislation on the theme, to build upon the awareness that has been generated.

The first European Year — the European Year of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the Craft Industry — dates back to 1983. Since then, but not every year, the European Commission has proposed European Years on themes ranging from road safety, through racism and xenophobia, to active ageing. The Commission’s proposal includes a dedicated budget to help subsidise local, national and cross-border projects on the theme, which needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

A selection of summaries on European Years is available in the section ‘See also’ below.