human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Civil Society: key to European Democracy Action Plan

In collaboration with Civil Society Europe (CSE), Caritas Europa contributed to a joint response to the consultation on the European Democracy Action Plan (EDAP), in which we called for greater recognition and support of civil society organisations as a key element for any future action plan on democracy.

This is especially important considering that EU core values, such as democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights have been facing increasing challenges within the European Union in the last years, resulting in a shrinking civic space and even the criminalisation of civil society organisations in some cases.

This has been further impacted by the global pandemic and related adverse effects on the ability of civil society and Caritas, as a social service provider, to perform its role – whether promoting access to fundamental rights in the social, health, cultural, education, environmental sector or advocating for good governance and better democracy.

We welcome the development of an action plan on democracy and believe this can best be achieved if the EU institutions:

  • Involve and recognise the importance of Civil Society in shaping EU policies;
  • Ensure that the proposed recovery measures that will be implemented as part of the Recovery  Plan  also duly  take  into  account  the  urgency  of  supporting  the  civil society sector, making sure that support to governments is used to maintain and reinforce public funding to NGOs for both service delivery and advocacy work;
  • Ensure that any recovery is  rights-based,  focusing  on  ensuring  full  access  to  rights  in  the  long-term,  rather  than addressing  short-term  needs;
  • Ensure that eligibility criteria of the calls for the new instruments should explicitly include not-for-profit civil society organisations as eligible funding recipients; and
  • Put in place measures   to   reinforce   cross   border cooperation among Civil Society.

joint statement


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