Civil society organisations largely sidelined in the preparation of the national recovery plans

– Analysis by Civil Society Europe, published on 12 January 2021, accessible here.

Civil Society Europe (CSE) in cooperation with the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) and with funding from the International Center for Not-for-Profi Law (ICNL) is releasing a report outlining the participation of Civil Society Organisations accross the European Union in the preparation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) . The European Recovery Package, which provides grants and loans of 750 billion € to Member States, aims to help repair the economic and social damage brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, and engage the European Union in a long term sustainable and inclusive recovery that promotes the green and digital transitions. The NRRPs will have to be presented by EU Member States by 30 April 2021.

The three main objectives of the report are:

  • to inform CSOs about the involvement of civil society in preparation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans
  • to create dialogue with key institutional actors regrading strengthening CSOs involvement
  • to develop recommendations to the EU institutions, national and regional authorities and CSOs themselves, on how to improve CSOs engagement throughout the whole process

The report which is available at this link highlights these current worrying general findings with limited exceptions:

  • poor quality consultation of CSOs
  • Failure to use existing consultation practices
  • uncertain and untransparent procedures
  • late stage consultations
  • limited interministerial involvement
  • concerns over the content of the plans
  • unclarity over the role of civil society as implementing partners and beneficiaries

EU citizens throgh their national and regional organisations must have a say on how EU recovery funds are spent and on the long term reforms that are being developed.

We call on member States and Regional :

  • to ensure adequate CSOs engagement including through capacity building and funding
  • involve CSOs accross the whole programme cycle of NRRPs
  • Include social, environemental and gender considerations in a transversal way, in both reforms and investments

We call on the European Commission:

  • to reject plans that have not demonstrated a clear consultation process involving all relevant CSOs
  • to ensure coherence with the partnership principle and respect for all other EU funding requirements and commitments, through rigorous monitoring
  • involve CSOs in the assessment of the Plans

We call on the European Parliament:

  • to organise regular hearings involving CSOs to discuss the implementation of the NRRPs

We call on the Council of the European Union:

  • to promote exchanges of good practices about CSOs engagement across Member States

We call on civil society:

  • to develop alliances with civil society organisations from other sectors
  • to develop a portfolio of reforms and projects to be supported by the NRRPs
  • to assess the plans and monitor their implementation in a continuous way

Report on the Participation of civil society organisations in the preparations of the EU national Recovery and Resilience Plans

Guidance Note is also available for Civil society organisations to engage in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the NRRPs