Civil Society Europe Newsletter - September 2023

What’s coming up?

Send your entries for the EnTrust creative contest

The EnTrust creative contest, ‘A Europe We Trust: visions of European youth’ is open for submissions! The contest takes place within the framework of the“Enlightened trust in governance” (EnTrust) research project and calls on young people aged 13-19 living in EU Member States and candidate countries to share their vision for the future of Europe using a creative visual format. The deadline for submissions is the 31st of October and three winners will be invited to Brussels to attend an awards ceremony and visit the EU institutions. 

EnTrust conference in Siena

From the 28th to the 29th of September, Civil Society Europe (CSE)’s Director, Carlotta Besozzi, will participate in a conference on “Trust and Distrust in Governance: Exploring the Impact of Social and Political Dynamics” at the University of Siena, Italy. This conference is organised as part of the EnTrust project. You can find more information here.

Civil Society For EU campaign 

Did you know that civil society mobilises and represents people across Europe? 47% of Europeans regularly engage with civil society organisations (CSOs).

Join our campaign and sign the Civil Society for EU manifesto!

What has CSE been up to since July?

Civil Society State of the Union 2023 report launch

On the 6th of September, Civil Society Europe (CSE) launched the Civil Society State of the Union 2023 (CS SOTEU), a report addressed to EU institutions and Member States. The launch event brought together over 100 participants from civil society organisations (CSOs), EU institutions and the media. Here is the full press release.

The report was delivered after seven months of collaboration among nearly 50 CSOs, and was produced by CSE’s Working Group on the CS SOTEU. It comprises civil society’s vision and recommendations for an EU that is more democratic and socially and environmentally just

During the launch event, 7 representatives from civil society presented the CS SOTEU report, and 3 representatives from EU institutions and political parties gave their reactions.

5th meeting of CSE’s WG on the Civil Society SOTEU: want to join the 6th one?

CSE’s Working Group (WG) on the Civil Society State of the Union held its fifth meeting on the 22nd of September to discuss the next steps now that the CS SOTEU report has been launched and disseminated. You can expect to continue to hear about our report, especially as the European elections get closer and closer!

The WG on the CS SOTEU is open to CSE members, members of the former Civil Society Convention for the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) and other CSOs. For more information, please reach out to Nastassia Maes, Policy & Membership Officer at CSE:

Civil Society For EU campaign 

CSE has been continuing to develop the 2024 EU elections campaign Civil Society for EU. Launched in June in collaboration with Social Platform and many other CSOs, the campaign calls on the future European Parliament and European Commission to take concrete steps to strengthen civic space and civil dialogue during the next mandate. Read the campaign manifesto here. So far, it has been endorsed by 135 CSOs from all over Europe.

Civil society organisations now have their place in the single market

Together with the European Council of Associations of General Interest (CEDAG) and Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea), we welcome the European Commission’s proposal to facilitate cross-border activities of non-profit associations in the EU through the creation of a new legal form, known as “European Cross-Border Association”.

We believe that by creating a new legal form of non-profit association that can be recognised by all Member States, we can further unlock the potential and support the essential contribution of civil society organisations of all sizes to our society.

EESC Plenary debate on the support for civil society in the area of fundamental rights in the EU & enlargement countries

On the 21st of September, CSE’s President, Gabriella Civico, spoke during the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)’s Plenary debate on the support for civil society in the area of fundamental rights in the EU and the enlargement countries. CSE’s President highlighted the need to have a real civil dialogue between civil society organisations and EU institutions and Member States on the design of funding for civil society at all levels.

Ombudsman inquiry on the removal of Commission officials’ contacts from the Whoiswho directory

In June, CSE and Social Platform sent a joint civil society letter—signed by over 110 European CSOs—to Commissioners Hahn and Jourová, calling on the European Commission to restore the contact details of its officials in the online EU Whoiswho directory.

Following the lack of response from the Commission, CSE and Social Platform have lodged a formal complaint with the European Ombudsman, who has opened an ongoing inquiry.

CSE at the Council of Europe on the Day of Democracy

On the 15th of September, CSE’s Director, Carlotta Besozzi, participated in the first meeting of a series of exchanges between civil society representatives from across Europe and the Council of Europe’s Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić. Participants discussed the shrinking civic space in Europe and how the Council of Europe can contribute to protecting and strengthening civic space by having a close dialogue with civil society organisations.

CSE’s contribution to the EC’s Citizenship Report 2023

CSE recently sent a contribution for the European Commission’s Citizenship Report 2023. Our contribution is centred around two main pillars: enhancing freedom of movement for a more inclusive European society, and strengthening democracy, fundamental rights and civic participation. 

EAPN has joined CSE's network of member organisations

We are very happy to share that the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) has joined our network of member organisations since June 2023! The EAPN is the largest European network of national, regional and local networks, involving anti-poverty NGOs and grassroot groups as well as European organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

CSE has recruited a Policy & Project Officer and a new Communications & Events Officer!

Two new people have joined the CSE team this month!

Matteo Vespa is our new Policy & Project Officer. He holds a degree in Political Science and in International and Diplomatic Sciences from the Universities of Cagliari and Bologna. He has been involved for seven years in the student movement at the local, Italian and European levels.

Carla Pimentel is our new Communications & Events Officer. She holds degrees in Communications and Anthropology, and has over 8 years of experience in communications, project management and research for non-profit and academic institutions in Peru. She is also a human rights activist and has taken part in various initiatives in which art intersects with social justice and gender issues.

EnTrust corner

Stay tuned: filming for an EnTrust documentary is underway

Filming for a series of short documentary-style videos about the EnTrust project has recently commenced. The videos will each focus on a different work package within the EnTrust project, and will feature voices from both the research teams behind the project, as well as contributions from citizens, civil society and civil servants. The videos will provide an insight into trust in institutions and governance across Europe, both from an academic and citizen-centric perspective. Stay tuned for the final product!

Fourth and fifth European Policy briefs are out

The “Enlightened trust in governance” (EnTrust) project has released two new European Policy Briefs! The fourth European Policy Brief presents new insights about the media’s role in building (dis)trust during challenging times. The fifth European Policy Brief provides fresh empirical insights and policy recommendations about trust in governance from a developmental-psychological perspective. In case you have any questions or want more information, you can write to

Events you don’t want to miss

Webinar on 'Engaging Young People in Your European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) - What You Need to Know'

The European Citizens’ Initiative Forum is organising a webinar on the 28th of September from 17:00 to 18:00 CET. This webinar will focus on how to get young people to sign European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECIs), how young people can be active volunteers in ECIs, and how young people can launch an ECI. More information about the webinar and the speakers is available on this website.

To register for this webinar, please email with your full name and the name of your organisation (if applicable).

Silver Rose Awards 2023

Register for SOLIDAR’s annual Silver Rose Awards ceremony before the 29th of September! Silver Rose Awards is an occasion to celebrate civil society organisations and individuals whose extraordinary struggles contribute greatly to social justice and solidarity throughout the world.

The event will take place on the evening of the 11th of October, from 18:00 to 21:15 at La Tricoterie in Brussels. This year, it is organised by SOLIDAR in collaboration with the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament, the Party of European Socialists, the Foundation of European Progressive Studies and the European Trade Union Confederation.

Social Platform’s capacity-building session on the European Semester process

Social Platform is organising an online capacity-building session on the European Semester process on the 6th of December 2023, from 14:00-16:30. The event is co-organised with several other civil society organisations (CSOs), including EAPN Europe, ENSIE and ERGO Network, and is dedicated to presenting the best practices of CSOs engaging in the European Semester process at EU and national levels.

The active participation of organisations with different levels of engagement in the Semester is welcome. All relevant information and the registration form can be found on this registration page. If you have any questions, please contact