On Thursday 26 April, Civil Society Europe held its second Annual General Assembly.
More than 50 participants, representing EU networks and platforms, attended the event which included a keynote address and lively exchange with the European Ombudsman on civil dialogue and transparency, a debate on civic space and media Freedom with the European Federation of Journalists.
Ms O’ Reilly highlithed that “in an increasingly polarised world, civil society plays a vital role in filling gaps in fractured political landscapes. It is vital to have a strong and engaged civil society given the complexities of lawmaking and the institutions’ physical and emotional distance from citizens” . She also stressed that a central element of improving the accountability of EU institutions is in addressing how they engage with civil society and that common rules of engagement would be an important step to this end.
She also noted that “Civil Society Europe is uniquely placed to test the temperature of EU institutions’ commitment to engaging with Civil Society”.
Mr Roirant , CSE President welcomed Ms Emily O’Reilly warmly by saying: ” We see you as an ally and a friend in our work towards regaining the trust of citizens when it comes to the European institutions”
Please find here the full speech of the European Ombudsman
Mr Mehmet Koksal presented the work of the European Federation of Journalists in documenting media freedom violations. He stressed the importance of rebuilding conditions for journalists in Europe such as protection against intimidation, preserve sources, and working conditions.
The draft report on CSE survey on civic space was also presented and there was a discussion on synergies between civil society organisations and media.
The General Assembly also elected two new Steering Committee members: François Balate from the European Youth Forum and Yannis Vardakastanis from the European Disability Forum.
The meetings also included a training on the GDPR and implications on civil society organisations.