Civil Society Europe, with the support of the European Civic Forum, sent out a letter this morning urging European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to include a European Civil Society Strategy in the EC’s 2023 work programme. We were able to gather 300+ CSOs from all over Europe to sign the letter and join the call for a bolder and more permanent role for CSOs in the EU’s future decision-making processes.
Why a European Civil Society Strategy?
On the ground, civil society is confronted with increasing challenges. While the European Union has recently launched several promising initiatives in the areas of democracy, rule of law, and social economy, they only partially address some of the most pressing issues that CSOs are currently facing. A comprehensive solution that empowers and protects civil society has yet to come to the fore.
To promote a thriving civic space at the EU and national levels, we urge the European Commission to launch a proactive EU strategy towards open civic space and resilient civil society. By addressing oversight, support, and protection gaps, as well as directly connecting monitoring and reporting tools to EU enforcement mechanisms to ensure follow-up, this would serve as a provision of “genuine political recognition to the crucial role played by CSOs.”
The call for a civil society strategy has been a long-term demand of CSOs at European and national level. This demand is now supported by a European Parliament resolution on the shrinking space for civil society in Europe (2021/2103(INI)) voted with a large majority on 8 March 2022, and recommendation 36.8 of the final report of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
How can you contribute?
It is now more important than ever for civil society to unite and call on the President of the European Commission to include the development of a European Civil Society Strategy in the European Commission’s work plan for 2023! The European Commission must respond quickly before the start of electoral campaigning for the European elections in 2024.
You can still support this campaign by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org