In its latest newsletter the European Civic Forum writes that it is time for a comprehensive civil society strategy to empower civic organisations in Europe. It recalls the resolution by the European Parliament on the shrinking space of civil society in Europe and asks the European Commission to include the drafting of a civil society strategy in its 2023 Work Programme.
The article in the newsletter:
Time for a comprehensive civil society strategy to empower civic organisations in Europe!
On 9 May, the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) adopted the conclusions and recommendations discussed over the last year. Importantly, these proposals recognise the important role of civil society at national and European level and call for actions to safeguard civic freedoms and civil society organisations (CSOs) in Member States and to engage CSOs at European level through the meaningful implementation of civil dialogue. The final report also stresses the need of a comprehensive European civil society strategy, a call coming from across Europe as well as from the European Parliament resolution 2021/2103(INI) of 8 March 2022 on the shrinking space for civil society in Europe.
We’ve had many chances to witness the role played by CSOs in upholding human rights, democracy and rule of law all across Europe, as well as the threats they face because of this watchdog role, including criminalisation (as it’s happening, for example, in Poland, Italy and Lithuania). The recent case of state surveillance on human rights defenders in Spain is yet another blatant example of a worrying trend affecting many EU Member States.
It is now urgent for the European Commission to take action! That’s why the European Civic Forum join the call of many other CSOs all across Europe, asking the European Commission to include the drafting of a civil society strategy in its 2023 Work Programme.
The Forum participated in a report on European civic and democratic space (pdf) and draws the attention to amongst others:
- state surveillance on human rights defenders in Spain,
- massive use of facial recognition by the French police,
- UK restricting the right to protest.
Other posts on this blog on shrinking space of civil society in the EU: