The Commission adopted on 5 October a proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to declare 2008 "European Year of Intercultural Dialogue".
This idea had initially been put forward by the European Commissioner with responsibility for culture, Jan Figel', during his hearing before the European Parliament in September 2004. With an overall budget of ? 10 million, the European Year will draw on the wealth and diversity of a series of specific projects to be implemented during 2008 through programmes and other Community actions. Culture, education, youth, sport and citizenship will be the main areas concerned.
The European Year is expected to:
- promote intercultural dialogue as an instrument to assist European citizens, and all those living in the European Union, in acquiring the knowledge and aptitudes to enable them to deal with a more open and more complex environment;
- raise the awareness of European citizens, and all those living in the European Union, of the importance of developing active European citizenship which is open to the world, respectful of cultural diversity and based on common values.