Tag Archives: civil society mission

Misunderstanding the role of CSOs: practical examples

What is exactly the function of civil society organisations? How can they bridge the EU and its citizens?

In a long interview, Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Director of Studies at the European Policy Centre, addressed the topical issue of involving citizens in their democracy. Building on the recommendations and following the results of the European Citizens Consultations, he winked at civil society organisations as those “actors who are independent of national or European institutions” and that need to bridge public institutions with deceived citizens.

We believe that there is a misconception on what the role of organised civil society is. NGOs and other non-profit actors are vocationally the voice of citizens, and represent their interests in public arenas; they do not supplement institutional malfunctions, and they are not an alternative to public services. If the action of civil society has ever brought more citizens to its cause(s) is because of simple water drop effect, and in most of the cases it happened against the political will of the apparatuses.

On top of this, civil society organisations do not have the necessary financial capacity to carry out such a task. And even when willingly accepting to do it, they are often denied economic support.