Active Citizenship Network (ACN) was initiated in December 2001 as the European and international interface of the Italian civic participation organisation Cittadinanzattiva(Active Citizenship).
ACN is a flexible network of European civic organizations which are involved as partners in its different projects, addressed to encourage active participation of citizens in European policy-making. ACN mirrors Cittadinanzattiva's Italian policies, such as health, corporate social responsibility, education and training at the global level.
ACN's mission is to promote and support the construction of the European citizenship as an "active citizenship" which means the exercise of citizens' powers and responsibilities in policy-making.
ACN recognizes the prior role of national and local civic organizations in this process and advocates enrichment of the European Union subsidiarity concept by strengthening the relationship between institutions and citizens, so that institutions favour free initiative of citizens, both individuals and organizations, in carrying out activities directed towards the common good.
Active Citizenship Network is distinguished by:
- No Brussels headquarters. The headquarters of Active Citizenship Network is in Rome, Italy and in Brussels there is its Representative office to the EU. Its activities are developed basically through internet and through meetings in different European countries. This method allows the network to be more in touch with needs and aspirations of the European citizens.
- Partners in projects. ACN does not have a permanent nor formal membership. Instead it is a flexible network. Organizations interested in ACN's activities can participate as partners in projects.
- Priority to nationally based organizations. The main target of ACN are national and local citizens' organizations which are the most important, but usually the less recognised and therefore the less involved in European politics.
- New Europe, not the EU. ACN makes no distinction between citizens' organizations from EU member states and candidate countries. ACN's projects are usually directed to all the New Europe countries.
- Global approach to civic activism. For ACN all citizens' organizations are relevant, no matter of their juridical status, size, form and field of activity. Therefore ACN promotes the participation of all types of citizens' organizations in its projects.
- English as a working language. In order to facilitate communication and co-operation between all partners, ACN has adopted English as its working language.
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