Active Citizens Fund 2014 - 2021

Support from the EEA and Norway Grants to civil society reflects a firm recognition of the sector’s role as a fundamental building block of democratic governance, human rights and social cohesion across Europe. The civil society programmes reflect the current challenges facing Europe against the backdrop of the economic crisis. Particular emphasis is given to combating discrimination, to promoting inclusion, and to harness the potential of social entrepreneurship in the fight against social exclusion. Support to young people at risk of social exclusion, and young people from marginalized communities, is mainstreamed across the programme area.
Civil society and active citizenship strengthened and vulnerable groups empowered.
Beneficiary countries 
Project support is available to applicants in 15 European countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Support to NGOs 
The funding period 2014-2021 represents the most ambitious effort so far by the EEA EFTA countries resulting in an agreed total budget of 2.8 billion euro to be used in five priority sectors. Support to civil society is under the fourth priority sector for culture, civil society, good governance and fundamental rights and freedoms. Nevertheless, NGOs will also be eligible for funding under many of the other programme areas available.

Under the Active Citizens Fund at least a third of the re-granting amount shall be allocated to democracy and human rights relevant projects. A t least 15% of the re-granting amount shall contribute to capacity development and sustainability of civil society including non-governmental organizations.

Read more about the Active Citizens progamme in the fact sheet.
active citizens fund
Areas of support
  • Democracy, active citizenship, good governance and transparency
  • Human rights and equal treatment through combating any discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Social justice and inclusion of vulnerable groups
  • Gender equality and gender-based violence
  • Environment and climate change
Suggested measures
  • Advocacy, awareness-raising and outreach to citizens
  • Watchdog and monitoring, including following up on recommendations of international monitoring bodies
  • Citizen activism, volunteering and civic participation
  • Participation in policy and decision-making processes, including promoting an enabling environment for civil society
  • Support for freedom of expression, investigative journalism and media
  • Countering hate speech, including support to networks working with hate crime victims
  • Promoting LGBTI rights and anti-discrimination activities
  • Capacity building of the civil society sector, including sustainability, networking and accountability of NGOs
  • Partnerships between NGOs, public and private sector entities
  • Civic education and training
  • Research and analysis to inform policy-making
  • Social innovation and social enterprise development
  • Intercultural dialogue, including platforms for minority/majority interactions
  • Inter-generational cooperation
  • Awareness-raising and capacity building on environmental issues including climate change and adaptation
  • Access to information, participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters in accordance with the Aarhus Convention
Program area specifics
  • Protection of the environment and climate change shall only be supported as part of measures to promote civic participation, advocacy, social innovation and active citizenship.
  • Provision of welfare and basic services shall only be supported as part of wider actions addressing awareness-raising, advocacy, empowerment and reform initiatives.