The project serves the particularly, in our days, urgent need for greater involvement of citizens in the development of a united Europe.
More specifically, the Network of eleven (11) European cities created within the program:
- promotes further the discussion and the intercultural dialogue about the future of Europe and the type of Europe that people want, not just those who support the idea of European integration, but especially those who reject it, challenge it or pose hard questions for the work and the achievements of the European Union
- explores new ways of citizens' incitement to participate in actions which contribute to the formation of democratic life within the European Union.
In light of the above, project "FOCUS" aims to highlight the important role of the social economy in enhancing European citizenship (active European citizenship), but also in reducing the democratic deficit at EU level that achieved for two (2) main reasons :
- The social economy does not perceive business as a single mode for profit, and thus provides citizens with vital services and quality goods at affordable prices, or even free of tariffs, with added value the local development and the return of profit to the local society which in times of economic crisis is experiencing incredibly harsh living conditions, so that considers political activation as "luxury", as it comes first to serve basic food and shelter needs.
- In voluntary organizations, charities, NGOs and cooperatives -which are the main carriers of social economy- can be employed primarily young people, elderly, women, people with disabilities and vulnerable groups in general, who suffer most from poverty and social exclusion and this is one of the reasons why they exhibit reduced willingness to involve in public affairs.
Within the program "FOCUS" will take place four events which aim at:
- understanding the value of European Union by strengthening the contact of the participants with the history and the principles, on which it was built,
- informing citizens about the functioning of European institutions and the procedures followed in the formulation of public policies, to become familiar with the ways, the means and the limits of their participation therein,
- deepening the debate on the future of Europe and the kind of Europe that its citizens want at a time of deep economic crisis and therefore and decreased willingness to engage in shaping the democratic life in its interior and intense contestation of the work and its achievements, and
- exchanging experiences and best practices on social engagement opportunities, intercultural engagement and volunteering in organizations and structures of society and the economy, that encourage and promote further political engagement with public affairs at EU level.