Each year since 1983, Europe has initiated a "European Year" awareness campaign designed to inform the citizens of Europe and dialogue with them to work for change in mentalities and behaviour. These European years also provide opportunities for drawing the attention of national governments to societal themes. In 2008, the Union celebrated the the European Year of multicultural dialogue, in 2007 equality of opportunity was to the fore and in 2006, workers' mobility.
Anul 2010 este Anul European pentru Combaterea Sărăciei și a Excluderii Sociale.
Comisia Europeană a stabilit că anul 2011 este Anul European al Voluntariatului.
The European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV) is a celebration of the commitment of millions of people in Europe who work in their communities during their free time without being paid. Their efforts and those of the many thousands of volunteering organisations make a huge difference to our lives in countless ways. The year is also a challenge to those Europeans who do not volunteer, to let them know that they can also make a difference.