European Citizens’ Initiative on civic education in Europe

More than education - Shaping active and responsible citizens


We are witnessing insufficient and incoherent teaching throughout Europe of essential civic competences, i.e. the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are needed to act as a responsible, active and democratic citizen.

We live in a democracy where the citizens are supposed to control the decision makers, but they aren’t adequately trained to do so. This leaves the citizens with a lack of understanding, and subsequently a lack of democratic control and appreciation. Civic education is one of the most important learning tools at our disposal, that allows people to become informed independent individuals in society, it is an education based on critical thought, democratic participation and a common understanding of certain values and principles. A democratic society relies for its legitimacy on the ability of every person to know their mind. Ineffective civic education sabotages the democracy itself, as it leads to general dissatisfaction and a lack of democratic supervision.

Education plays an important role in developing the individual’s understanding of how the world works and the ability to critically evaluate that. Education in Europe is at the moment very divided, which creates a diverging understanding of our society. Coordination of education is essential for the cohesion and stability of our society.

Therefore, teaching the civic competences should be strengthened and coordinated throughout Europe.


More intensive incentive measures are needed to support member states in their responsibility of providing the basic civilising tools needed to become a functioning member of a democratic diverse and open society.

We call on the European Commission to:

  •  Set up a long term agenda for coordinating citizenship education among EU members states, so that global and European concepts and values are taught to citizens and the citizens are equipped with the competences to actively, responsibly participate in our democratic society.
  •  Create benchmarks for civic education in Europe, based on long and short term goals. International organisations such as the Council of Europe are consulted for setting the goals and benchmarks, as well as civil society actors and education providers.
  •  Organise periodic evaluation of benchmarks, including reports from ministries as well as civil society second opinions.
  •  Provide support to empower member states to implement the suggested education elements, with dedicated working groups in the ET2020 and future frameworks.
  • Offer space for exchanging practises between education providers and authorities.
  •  Strengthen financial support programmes for consultation and networking projects in civic education policy.