Civil society organisations in Europe are active providing support and information to people that are affected in different ways by the Covid 19 pandemic crisis. CSOs are also playing a watchdog role by monitoring the policy development and making the case for those that are the most vulnerable in the current situation and by calling for action. Many of the decisions to contain the pandemic have also had consequences on our civic freedoms and many associations are monitoring the impact of these provisions and calling for changes when these appear to be disproportionate or unjustified.
You will find below links to resources made available by our members, information on what they are doing to counter the pandemic and help people and also their calls to the authorities to find solutions to the crisis.
RESOURCES ON COVID-19 & CIVIL SOCIETY
- Culture Action Europe has published insights into EU Covid-19 measures for the cultural and creative sector. Please also check out the social media campaign
- The European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities is organising a webinar on how to move support services online.
- The European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) encourages citizens to contact Your Europe Advice
a free online EU advice service provided by ECAS legal experts, operating under contract with the European Commission – if they have any enquiries regarding cross-border health care, consumer and passenger rights, social benefits or any other freedom of movement-related questions. ECAS legal experts are closely monitoring the Covid-19 measurements in place and are able to provide up-to-date information. Response time is within 72 hours from receival of the enquiry.
- The European Disability Forum provides a list of information resources available in accessible formats and easy to read, as well as helplines in the different countries. They also published a FAQ on disability and Covid 19 also including a review of the situation in different EU countries.
- The European Network Against Racism has published the Corona Diaries with testimonies from members in different European Countries showing how the Covid-19 crisis is exacerbating structural racism and inequalities in society, with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups bearing the brunt of its impact and what remedies are put in place by civil society to address these.
- The European Patients Forum has published an Covid 19 resource point to kept us all abreast of the most relevant and reliable information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also a page on Patients’ perspectives with stories of persons with chronic health conditions.
- Solidar has published a series of briefing notes on Covid-19: on migration, e-learning and civic space
- The European Center for Non Profit Law has published a briefer on emergency measures and civic freedoms in the Eastern Partnership Region. See also the Covid-19 Civic Freedom Tracker that monitors Government’s responses to the pandemic (emergency laws) across the globe that affect civic freedoms
- Civil Liberties Union published a guide on how to talk about human rights during Covid-19.
CSE MEMBERS & PARTNERS IN ACTION
- ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy supports 3 crowdfunding initiatives in support of of those most hit by the pandemic. on March 27th ALDA held a webinar alongside with the European Movement France with the aim to highlight how the civil society is facing the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
- CEV, the European Volunteer Centre, just issued a publication compiling initiatives by citizens and civil society organisations to support vulnerable people and each other during the Covid 19 pandemic. It will be regularly updated.
- Concord, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development organised a series of webinars to discuss arising needs and concerns of members, including impact on inequalities, share information and resources, and coordinate responses to the crisis
- The European Citizens Action Service, ECAS has launched an award for aiming at alleviating the effects of the COVID – 19 outbreak on mobile EU citizens: ECAS Awards 2020 for the ‘Most EU Mobile Citizen – Friendly Location’ rewarding practices and initiatives that aim at fostering inclusion and provision of information to mobile EU citizens. Once the coronavirus outbreak, which has resulted in a temporary suspension of the freedom of movement in the European Union, subsides, citizens and Member States, EU institutions and civil society will have the task to restore this greatest legacy of European integration.
- Eurodiaconia provides information on the responses of Churches in Europe to Covid-19
- The European Civic Forum has also published on the Civic Space Watch website information on solidarity initiatives taken by NGOs across Europe.
- The European Disability Forum includes information on what their national members are doing to respond to the crisis. On 18 May you can join a webinar on the human rights violations of persons with disabilities during the Covid-19.
- The European Humanist Federation tells us about the Truth to Power café going digital and inviting people to profound reflection on loss, hope and resistance, told through memoir, image, poetry, music, and live and spontaneous testimony from participants on who has power over you and what do you want to say to them.
- The European Youth Forum launched a social media campaign #SeparatedButUnited where you can see all initiatives taken by youth organisations, showing the resilience of the youth sector and of civil society.
- The Social Platform publishes an overview of reactions, statements and recommendations from its members.
- Solidar has published a briefing note highlighting solidarity actions taken by their members in different countries to deliver assistance on the ground, provide cultural and sports activities online, e-learning support, etc.
- Volonteurope features on its website the amazing work done by its members during the Coronavirus epidemic. #EuropeFutureFringe is an initiative to share events an initiatives by CSOs.
- The European Foundation Centre is conducting an ongoing survey of its members to find out what measures they are taking, both internally and in their programmatic and funding activities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find on their website a page, which is regularly updated, with all the actions that EFC members are undertaking to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19. Together with Dafne, the Donors and Foundation Networks in Europe, EFC has issued a European Philanthropy Statement on COVID-19 addressed at Civil Society Organisations signed currently by 169 foundations.
Please also checkout the collection of CSOs responses published by the Balkan Civil Society Development Network.
WHAT OUR MEMBERS & PARTNERS ARE ASKING FOR
- AEGEE Europe, the European Student’s Forum has published a statement end of March on the situation of migrants and refugees in Europe during the COVID-19 crisis calling for urgent action by the EU and Member States to protect refugees.
- Concord wrote a letter to the EU Commissioner on International Partnerships, the EU Representative and national Governments asking them to focus on the people who are most at risk, to support partner countries to strengthen their health systems, to put women and girls at the centre of their response, and to support local civil society organisation. They also issued recommendations on adapted measures for EU project development and grant implementation due to the pandemic.
- Culture Action Europe published a statement on the critical role of culture during the pandemic and for sustainable development.
- European Alternatives website includes a statement by the Euromemo group endorsed by 400 academics on the Covid-19 crisis as a turning point for the European Project
- The European Association for Services for People with Disabilities also published several statements on the contribution and resilience of the sector and of the need for EU funding initiatives to support social services in Europe.
- Eurodiaconia publishes a Joint Statement of the Presidents of COMECE and CEC in the context of the COVID–19 pandemic encouraging the political decision-makers in the European Union and its Member States, to continue acting in a determined, transparent, empathic and democratic way and for concrete actions such as burden-sharing in the care for the sick, a facilitated exchange of medical materials, creative measures alleviating social, economic and financial shocks, as well as reinforced international cooperation and humanitarian assistance to support weaker health systems in needy regions of the world. Eurodiaconia also calls for investing in children.
- The Eurogroup for animals published a statement COVID-19 is teaching us a harsh lesson: We need to change our relationship with animals which gives insight on the causes of the virus and highlights solutions notably with the ambitious and swift publication of the two crucial components of the EU Green Deal: the Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 and the Farm to Fork Strategy which are now being drafted by the European Commission. It has also addressed a letter to Letter to EP Political Groups: consider animal welfare in your COVID-19 resolution. It also calls for signing the Novid-50 petition asking the United Nations to create an Exit Strategy from wildlife trade, wet markets with animals, and industrial animal farms – for a world free from pandemics caused by animal-borne diseases like COVID19.
- The European Civic Forum published an Open Letter to European Commission President Von der Leyen, Vice President Ms Jourova and Justice Commissioner Mr Reynders calling upon the European Commission and Member States to act swiftly and publicly in support of the CSOs’ role and action capacities during the crisis, notably in regards to vulnerable communities and population. They also published a position paper on the ten lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis, the Future must be different from the Past.
- The European Disability Forum published an open letter for a disability inclusive response addressed to EU and National leaders
- The European Humanist Federation has issued a statement calling for maintaining access to reproductive health services such as emergency contraception and abortion during the pandemic crisis.
- The European Network Against Racism is publishing a call for system change now to achieve real equality and Leaving no one behind in the coronavirus crisis
- The European Patients Forum has issued a number of Statements notably calling the EU and member States to put in place effective strategies to protect the health of chronic patients and to work with their country’s patient organisations to identify best possible solutions, and ensure effective flow of information.
- The European Youth Forum published a statement calling for a response rooted in solidarity, cooperation and open-mindedness across borders and for all parts of our society, protecting the population, all sectors of society including civil society organisations, ensuring that no one is left behind.
- The Green 10 have issued a statement Time to Invest in a healthy Future, time for a Green Recovery
- The Lifelong Learning Platform calls in a statement for massive investment in education and training, in which it also highlights initiatives by members.
- SMES-Europa has published a statement calling for action to address the situation and maginalisation of homeless people and with mental health issues
- The Social Platform issued a statement calling for reforms in the areas of services, employment and income, economic governance and funding, particularly for social services and EU funded civil society organisations.
- Solidar issued statements on the need for the EU to act urgently putting people first and protecting the population facing high vulnerability.
- Transparency International EU adopted an opinion: Money lost to corporate tax havens could be funding our health services through the crisis, in which it calls for increased transparency on Corporate Tax issues. It also initiated an open letter signed by over 80 civil society organisations (including CSE) and MEPs calling on the EU to condemn the Hungarian government’s misuse of the coronavirus crisis to erode democratic values.
- The Young European Federalist (JEF) published The After-Covid Guide for Optimists that includes hints at what a better Europe could look like after the crisis.