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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Article originally published on Greenpeace, 22 July 2020 - accessible here Across the EU, journalists, activists, academics and their organisations are facing legal threats or fighting lawsuits designed to shut them up. These lawsuits, brought by companies or powerful individuals and designed to silence critics, are called SLAPPs – Strategic ...
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Extract from article originally published on Politico, 11 June 2020 - accessible here It took the killing of a black man in the United States, choked under the knee of a white police officer, to bring people out into the streets in Europe. The Continent doesn’t have a good track ...
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Article originally published on FRA website, 24 June 2020 - accessible here FRA’s Fundamental Rights Survey collected data from 35,000 people about their experiences, perceptions and opinions on a range of issues that are variously encompassed by human rights. This report presents a small selection of the survey results. It ...
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/ Europe, Food for thoughts
Article originally published on EESC website, 22 June 2020 - accessible here The Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law (FRRL) Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has published a report on national developments in the area of fundamental rights and the rule of law from a civil ...
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/ Europe, Food for thoughts
- Extract from the article by  Gill Phillips, published on The Guardian on 28 May 2020. Read it in entire here [...] Attacks on journalists around the world take many forms, some of which are sanctioned in law. Legal or quasi-legal mechanisms include the use of civil or criminal legal ...
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Paper published in May 2020 - accessible here (PDF) Introduction This paper consolidates the major elements of a discussion on European governments’ policy responses to supporting civil society and facilitating philanthropy and individual giving in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. It is vital that governments recognise the crucial role ...
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June 2020 - originally published here This briefer, presented by ICNL and ECNL, outlines some of the common legal and extralegal measures used to target civil society actors working on climate justice. Many of these measures violate international and regional law, and threaten civil society’s ability to function and find ...
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Publication by the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law, accessible here “The Handbook is a guide that should empower civil society groups across the European Union to make the best use possible of the resources of EU law to protect the civic space. This fills a gap. And, unfortunately, it responds to a ...
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The annual State of Civil Society Report analyses key events and trends impacting on civil society, and civil society responses to the major challenges of the day. The ninth edition of our report focuses on the main trends from 2019. This report is about, from and for civil society, drawing ...
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