Since 1983 the EU dedicates a thematic year to one topic. 2015 will be the official European year for development and the first ever to be designated to a global, external action related theme.

Good timing: 2015 is the expiry date for the Millennium Development Goals (or MDGs) and to propose their replacements. The European Year plays a special role in communicating within the EU to citizens about a specific theme and it usually allows for joint and national level events, organised by EU institutions, member states governments or civil society organisations. A special budget is assigned for the European Year.
EYD2015: role of civil society organisations

The idea for EYD2015 was promoted by CONCORD and other civil society organisations (CSOs), with support from the EESC, gaining official approval from the EU institutions in April 2014. CSOs play important role being a partner for EU Commission in the planning of the year and in the implementation process at European level. CSOs are expected to be the main partners for Ministries of Foreign Affairs for activities at national level. EYD2015 is planned to gather all existing experiences, best practices by CSOs and showcase them at European level.