European Commission proposes new Justice, Rights and Values Fund
The Commission has proposed a new €947million Justice, Rights and Values Fund consisting of two underlying programmes; a Rights and Values programme, which will have a budget of €642million, and a Justice programme, with a budget of €305million.
The two-programme structure will simplify the current three-programme one, with citizenship – currently dealt with across two separate programmes - being covered by the new Rights and Values programme only. It is envisaged this simplification will allow synergies to flourish.
In addition to these additional synergies, the objective is that the Fund will contribute through assisting the fight against inequalities and discrimination, better protecting children and improving judicial co-operation, particularly in relation to criminality and terrorism.
Rights and Values Programme
This programme will be aimed in particular at protecting and promoting the rights and values contained within the EU Treaties and has three main objectives:
- to promote equality and rights through the combatting of inequality and the promotion to the mainstream of gender equality and anti-discrimination;
- to promote citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic life of the Union through (i) increasing citizens’ understanding of the Union and (ii) promoting their civic and democratic participation, including increased co-operation between citizens of different countries; and
- to fight violence through (i) the prevention and combatting of crime against children, young people, women and other at risk groups and (ii) supporting and protecting victims of such violence.
The sorts of activities that will be funded under this programme include:
- awareness raising and training;
- mutual learning among stakeholders to improve civil engagement and increasing town-twinning activities to support this;
- analytical and monitoring activities to better understand progress;
- supporting civil society organisations to have a more active participation in a more democratic Union; and
- developing the capacity of European networks to help achieve all the above.
The Justice Programme
This programme is aimed at being part of the ongoing development of a European area of justice based on rule of law and mutual recognition and trust. Its objectives are:
- to support judicial co-operation in civil and criminal matters and promote the rule of law through, for example, improving the enforcement of judgments and the effectiveness of national courts;
- promoting and supporting judicial training; and
- to facilitate and promote effective access to justice and effective redress for all.
This programme will fund activities such as:
- training for stakeholders on Union policies and law;
- mutual learning of the judicial systems and rule of law across the Member States;
- analytical and monitoring activities to better understand potential obstacles to the smooth running of a European area of justice;
- the development and implementation of IT to improve judicial efficiency; and
- the development in capacity of key European level networks.
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
The Fund is also aimed at enhancing and supporting the key role of NGOs and Civil Society Organisations in promoting, safeguarding and awareness raising for EU common values and ensuring people can enjoy their rights.
The Fund will assist NGOs in promoting activities under its three objectives including, for example, projects to fight violence against women or promoting the rights of children. It will also fund activities facilitating participation in a more democratic Union as well as supporting Civil Society Organisations, for example to facilitate effective access to justice for all.