[Brussels, 18 November 2011] Reacting to the recent proposal of the European Commission, the EWL calls for specific, predictable EU funding for promoting equality between women and men and combating violence against women after 2014.
The European Commission on 15 November proposed that, from 2014 to 2020, EU activities to promote equality between women and men and fight violence against women will be financed through a programme called ‘Rights and Citizenship’, one of the two new funding programmes in the field of Justice. The programme will merge three current programmes: the gender equality and anti-discrimination sections of the Progress programme, the DAPHNE III programme to combat violence against women, children and young people, and the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme.
The EWL welcomes the fact that activities to promote gender equality and combat violence against women will after 2014 be funded through the same EU programme and that the proposal acknowledges the need to support European NGO networks. However, the EWL is concerned that the proposal as it stands may weaken the EU’s ability to promote equality between women and men and combat violence against women with specific, predictable funding and thus undermine its long-standing commitment to this goal.
According to the EWL’s analysis, the proposal has several weaknesses:
- The proposal does not foresee equality between women and men as an independent policy objective, but as part of a broad objective to "implement the principle of non-discrimination." Combating violence agaist women is not mentioned among the objectives of the programme.
- The proposed budget of the programme, €387 million in 2011 prices (€439 when inflation is taken into account), would cut the funding available for gender equality, non-discrimination, struggle against violence and fundamental rights in comparison to the current period as much as 16%
- At the same time, the Commission proposes to increase the overall funding for activities in the field of Justice. This means that the proposal implies a shift in priorities from equality, rights and citizenship to criminal and civil justice
- The new programme does not earmark funding for different policy priorities. Instead, decisions about allocations within the programme will be made on annual basis. This is a risk for the predictability of funding for the different policies and objectives covered by the programme.
The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Member States, who will make the decisions about the future funding programmes together.
The EWL calls on the Members of the European Parliament and the Council to amend the proposal for the Rigths and Citizenship Programme. Equality between women and men and combating violence agaist women must be made an independent policy objective of the programme and this objective must receive a specific, sustainable funding.
Read the EWL’s statement on the proposed funding programmes in the field of Justice here.