Food For Thoughts

The European Civic Forum is aware that policies and legislative measures are only one tool that state and non-state actors have at their disposal to hinder the actions of civil society. The first obstacle they face is isolation and delegitimation, which allows governments to openly attack activists without facing citizens’ opposition

According to a research requested by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights,

“The burden of argumentation has now switched around to fall on civil society’s shoulders. Civic groups are faced with the need to explain why they should have the right to exist unhindered and receive support from the outside. This is a major inversion of the whole civic climate that goes well beyond the individual NGO laws that have been introduced – and the significance of this inversion has still not been fully seized. It means inter alia that effective responses will need to rework a whole narrative about the merits and rights of civil society.”

This section of the European Civic Space Watch aims at collecting positive stories and new, constructive narratives on the role of civil society in ensuring the well-functioning of democracy and defending citizens’ interests in national and supranational policymaking. It also includes analysis of the crisis of values that is at the core of shrinking civic space in Europe.

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(Green European Journal) Is society ready to break with legal and political norms to tackle the climate crisis? Perhaps: in France, between the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, the L’Affaire du siècle (the case of the century) petition broke records by gathering more than two million signatures. Launched by ...
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(HSFK & PRIF) In many countries around the world, civil society organizations are facing increasing restrictions that constrain their autonomy, capacity and/or freedom of action. While the general phenomenon of shrinking civic space and the adoption of legal restrictions in particular have become more widespread since the early 2000s, there ...
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/ Food for thoughts
(POLITICO) Dariush Beigui has a day off, but he’s not happy about it. For much of the past four years, the German skipper of a refueling boat in the port of Hamburg has traded in his vacation and overtime to join civilian rescue ships saving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea ...
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/ Food for thoughts, Migration
(European Civic Forum for Balkan Civic Practices) In the recent years, multiple attacks on civic space and citizens’ resistance to concentration of power showed that, although the methods might differ from one country to another, there were always common bounds to these wrongdoings. If we have a closer look at the inter-connections ...
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/ Food for thoughts
(Social Europe) In the latest contribution to our ‘Europe2025’ series, Donatella della Porta argues that it has become increasingly difficult for social movements to envision another Europe from below. Progressive social movement organisations have long been critical of the European Union—and progressively more so. Yet at the same time they have ...
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/ Food for thoughts
(OpenDemocracy) Despite pain, loss, disruption and constant threats, the movement is winning. Now that the LGBTQ movement in the United States has reached the half-century mark, what can activists learn from its story of struggle? Since polarization continues to deepen, this might be a good time to learn from a ...
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/ Food for thoughts
(OECD) By Thomas Carothers, Director, and Saskia Brechenmacher, Associate Fellow, Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace This blog marks Civil Society Days (4-7 June 2019), including the International Conference on Civil Society Space on 6 June 2019 hosted by the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate and the Task Team on CSO Development Effectiveness and ...
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/ Food for thoughts
(European Centre for Non-for-Profit Law) Did you know that 140 governments have adopted counter-terrorism legislation since 2001? And that research has shown there is no evidence legal restrictions on civil society reduce the number of terrorist attacks within a country? ECNL prepared a summary on the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the ...
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/ Food for thoughts
(Translated from German - Rechtssicherheit für politische Willensbildung)The judgment in the ATTAC case by the [German] Federal Fiscal Court (BFH = Bundes­finanz­hof) affects thousands of foundations (trusts) and associations. This judgment is not very helpful. It does not reflect the social developments of recent decades. In some points, the BFH's arguments ...
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/ Food for thoughts, Germany
(ECNL) How do you have to plan and prepare to monitor an assembly? What do you need to observe when you are there? What do you do with the information you gather through first-hand observation? How do you deal with the media? Our Briefer on Monitoring Public Assemblies gives a quick rundown of ...
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