Discussion on the Civil Society Strategy document

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Discussion on the Civil Society Strategy document

In the last days of June, the results of our study "Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundamental rights and civic space", carried out for the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), were discussed in Brussels during the conference "How do we get to a European Civil Society Strategy?" organised by the "Reclaim Our Civil Space" project. The aim of this event was to bring together networks of civil society organisations, European Union institutions and donor countries to jointly develop, promote and advocate a detailed set of recommendations for a European Civil Society Strategy and Policy document.

During his presentation, Filip Pazderski, Head of IPA’s Democracy and Civil Society Programme, said: "Having played such an important role in counteracting the effects of the pandemic, civil society organisations now deserve their proper recognition in EU public policies". He pointed out that an important solution in this direction would be an EU Civil Society Strategy. In his view, "it should be a document providing a structure and a comprehensive vision of the role of civil society organisations, serving to coordinate existing measures, providing harmonisation and guidelines for their application, and suggesting gaps in existing EU public policies that should be filled." Furthermore, such a document should:

•    Clearly recognise its role and include a declaration of support for civil society,
•    Provide solutions that create an enabling environment for civil society to function,
•    Propose measures to monitor, document and analyse the challenges facing civil society in the European Union,
•    Suggest institutional solutions to protect civil society from attacks,
•    Ensure that legal action is taken to uphold the role of civil society organisations, including enabling the European Commission to use its enforcement powers against Member States that unduly restrict the space for civic participation in violation of the EU Treaties.

We also encourage you to read the entire report, containing a full set of recommendations: The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundamental rights and civic space (isp.org.pl)!
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