On 16 September Civil Society Europe published together with Act Alliance EU, Climate Action Network Europe, Caritas Europa, Civil Liberties Union for Europe, European Democracy Lab, Music Theatre International, the Good Lobby, Solidar Foundation, and Philanthropy Advocacy Initiative a joint statement as a contribution to the European Democracy Action Plan consultation. The proposal from the European Commission is awaited early December.
Civil society organisations play a key role in the democratic system, holding those in power to account and stimulating public debate and citizen engagement, responding on the ground to societal challenges, as well as in combating some of the identified threats. Civil society is also crucial in empowering individuals to express their opinions and voice their concerns, as also recognised by the Treaties. In addition to this, participatory and deliberative democracy can give citizens an increased chance to actively and directly participate in the shaping of planned or future public policies. A major element in the context will be the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe.
A number of measures are necessary to sustain and reinforce democracy in Europe, but this can only happen through the active involvement and recognition of civil society as an important pillar of democracy. CSE calls in particular on:
- The European Commission to initiate an inter-institutional agreement on civil dialogue with European civil society in order to fully implement the provision of Art. 11 TEU regarding an “open, transparent and regular dialogue with civil society and its representative associations” in all areas of EU action.
- EU institutions to ensure meaningful and inclusive participation of civil society including philanthropy in the context of the Future of Europe Conference, in the implementation of the EDAPa nd any other mechanisms and processes for the promotion and protection of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights
You can find here the full Joint Statement.
Civil Society Europe also contributed to the chapter on civic space of A comprehensive Plan to Innovate Democracy in Europe drafted by organisations working on democracy, human rights, media and the rule of law. The paper also addresses issues such as election integrity, disinformation and online public sphere, media pluralism and safety of journalists and media workers. Please also check the related statement.