Civil Society Europe Newsletter

March - May 2024

Welcome to our mid-March to mid-May newsletter! In this edition, you will find: 

What’s coming up?

European Elections: call to vote!

In just a few weeks, between 6–9 June 2024, millions of Europeans will participate in the European Parliament elections and collectively decide on the future of the European Union. 

As a communication partner, at CSE we want to reiterate our commitment to the participation in the elections as a key moment of democratic engagement and remind our subscribers to vote and help shape the future of European democracy! 

Featured image: Winner artwork of the EnTrust creative contest by the Junior ambassadors of Manuel de Falla high school in Coslada, Madrid. 

What has CSE been up to?

The Civil Society for EU campaign reached 260 candidates!

Over 260 candidates for the EP elections have already signed the “Civil Society for EU” campaign pledge in support of European civil society! The full list can be found on the campaign website.

Implemented by CSE and Social Platform, “Civil Society for EU” is an EU Elections campaign that calls on future policy leaders and institutions to better recognise, support and engage with civil society through concrete policy measures.

Are you a candidate for the European Parliament?
You are still on time to support our campaign! ↓

Do you have any questions? Reach out to the campaign coordinator:

riccardo(dot)rossella(at)civilsocietyeurope(dot)eu, and/or contact(at)civilsocietyeurope(dot)eu.

Meeting with the new EU Fundamental Rights Agency Director

On 16 May 2024, CSE participated in a meeting with the new director of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), Sirpa Rautio. The event, organised by Amnesty International and Open Society Foundations, was attended by more than 30 organisations and discussed a broad range of topics on which civil society and FRA could collaborate. The fruitful meeting highlighted the synergies between FRA and civil society, both at the national and EU levels, in terms of provision of information and advocacy. It also reaffirmed the role that FRA can play in assessing EU policies and their impact on fundamental rights, both before and after their approval and implementation. 

Roundtable on a protection mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and civil society in Europe

On 18 and 19 April 2024, CSE and the European Civic Forum, as part of a civil society task force, hosted a roundtable to discuss protection needs and design a proposal for a Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and civil society organisations in Europe. 

The event, which took place at EFTA HOUSE in Brussels, gathered around 40 HRDs and civil society representatives from different countries. Together, they spoke about how to improve protection for HRDs and civil society, what are some existing protection mechanisms in Europe, and collectively identified key elements needed to create a strong protection mechanism for HRDs and civil society in Europe. The event also included a breakfast briefing with policymakers, which was hosted by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The event’s findings will be used to develop a report outlining existing regional mechanisms and what they offer, existing access and support from regional bodies, as well as potential paths forward for protection. More news coming soon!

Event “Defence of Democracy Package & fundamental rights: What is at stake?”

On 10 April 2024, Civil Society Europe (CSE) organised the event “Defence of Democracy Package & fundamental rights: What is at stake?”, together with the European University Association (EUA), Renew Europe and Greens/EFA Groups, and hosted by MEP Anna Donáth (Renew Europe, HU). During the conference, CSE and EUA expressed concerns over the proposed Directive on interest service representation funded by third countries: the proposed Directive would establish a register of foreign-funded entities, the boundaries of which are very unclear, and on which also universities could need to register. The event, which attracted around 100 participants from EU institutions, academics, universities and civil society organisations (CSOs) from different countries, delved into the concerns of the academic and civil society sectors on the Directive.

The gathering also served to launch the civil society briefing document on the Directive, which analyses the Directive from legal, civic space and fundamental rights perspectives.

Interview of CSE’s President by magazine

Gabriella Civico was interviewed by the Croatian Magazine, where she was featured on the cover of their April edition. The engaging interview covers a wide range of topics, including perspectives on the current state of civil society, its role in European Governance, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in building a more cohesive and participatory Europe.

European Cross-Border Associations’ Directive (ECBA) reception

CSE spoke at the ECBA reception organised on 21 March 2024 by the rapporteur of the Directive, Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, DE), attended by several CSOs, Commission and Parliament representatives, and by the Belgian Council Presidency. During its intervention, CSE underlined the strong contribution made by CSOs to improve the original proposal, supported the position adopted by the Parliament, and urged the Council not to water down the initiative, but to support some modifications to further increase the quality of the Directive.

Relevant policy developments in the EU

EESC Civil Society Week: final outcomes

The Civil Society Week organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) gathered more than 800 participants between the 4th and the 7th March 2024. The outcomes of the week which outline the actions civil society proposes to make Europe more democratic and inclusive will feed into the EESC resolution for the new EU mandate. 

Events you don't want to miss

FRA webinar “EU funds: Ensuring compliance with fundamental rights”

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) is organising a webinar to present the findings from FRA’s latest report "EU funds: Ensuring compliance with fundamental rights". The event will focus on how to ensure compliance with the conditionalities introduced in 2021 as they relate to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

When? 5th June, 10:00-11:30 CEST/Vienna time

Click here to learn more. 

SOLIDAR’s Silver Rose Awards

Since 2000, our member SOLIDAR organises the Silver Rose Awards, an award ceremony to celebrate CSOs and individuals leading change towards a socially just transition to sustainable societies. For the 2nd year in a row, this award is centered on just transition and SOLIDAR is collecting nominations until the 31st of May

If you wish to apply or nominate, you can find the call here.