(International Journal on Human Rights) Eastern Europe recently came to the interest of the global human rights community when Hungary introduced a Russia-style foreign agent regulation. The regulation however, is not a standalone act, but part of a wider process of silencing independent voices, especially independent human rights, anti-corruption and democratic organisations. The trend is spreading within the European Union, with Poland following in the footsteps of the Hungarian government. After discussing the characteristics of Eastern European civil society, the article describes coalition building as one form of countering the closing civic space phenomenon. The author builds on her own experience and focuses on two dilemmas that emerged during the coalition building in Hungary: goal-setting and participation.