Closing Conference of the European Year of Citizens 2013 “How to make every year a year for citizens!”

19 December 2013, Last updated at 11:32 EEST
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On 21 November 2012, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union declared 2013 the European Year of Citizens to promote discussions regarding EU citizenship. The goal of the European Year of Citizens is to increase awareness and knowledge of EU citizenship-related rights and duties.

In January 2013, Presiding Ireland organized the European Year of Citizens opening event. On 12–13 December Lithuania will organize the closing event.

Around 350 participants are expected from various EU NGOs, governmental and European institutions. On Lithuania’s initiative, several representatives of the EU Eastern Partnership countries’ (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) NGO sector will be invited to participate as guests. This will allow them to see the actual situation of citizens in the EU and their discussions, and on that information base their evaluation of the perspectives of joining the EU.

Foreign ambassadors residing in Lithuania, the Baltic States’ Ombudsmen, members of the EP representing Lithuania in the EU, and representatives of various Lithuanian institutions dealing with citizen rights are also expected to participate at the Conference.

Opening addresses will be given by the leaders of Lithuania, the Vice-President of the EC and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights, and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, the first leader of Lithuania after the restoration of independence Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis.

During the Conference's two days, six topical discussions (sessions) will be held. Representatives of NGOs and members of the EC and EP will cover the following topics:

  • The role and future of civil society organisations in building Europe’s future,
  • Shaping Europe from the bottom up,
  • Fostering EU citizens’ rights,
  • New ways for citizens to influence policymakers,
  • Why wait to vote? Other ways to engage
  • Towards the 2014 European elections.

During the last plenary session (13 December), announcers will present the topic of each group and summarize the discussion.

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