We welcome the inclusion within the European Commission 2023 Work Programme to “put forward a defence of democracy package to deepen the action under the European Democracy Action Plan to promote free and fair elections, to step up the fight against disinformation and to support media freedom and pluralism, including by developing civic space and citizen participation to bolster democratic resilience from within”.
The European Package on the Defence of Democracy should include a pillar on building a resilient democracy and a strong and vibrant space for civil society.
Civil society organisations, such as citizens’ associations, NGOs and public benefits foundations, and human rights defenders are instrumental to effective democratic participation and resilience, both at European and national level. Their role is key to building public spaces, upscale participatory democracy and channel citizens’ participation. CSOs also play a fundamental watchdog role when rights, democracy and the rule of law are under attack, including to protect from undue foreign influences and keep governments accountable.
Please find our concrete proposals in the preliminary position paper that we have prepared with our members and Philea.