Europeanising civic space

Civitates commits €400 000 in grants to enhance collaboration and connections between the national and EU level

Published: 12 January 2023

For a thriving civic space across Europe, there is a need for civil society to collaborate and to have the opportunity to better connect national efforts to those at the EU level. Our coalition partners share that collaboration takes different forms such as participating in cross-border projects or peer exchanges with other civil society actors or coalitions; having an active membership in European networks; and alerting the European community on negative developments in their respective countries. The level to which CSOs engage with this European aspect varies deeply and often depends on factors such as the situation in the country, the nature and focus of the coalition’s work and their internal capacity to participate actively in processes at the EU level.

At the same time, the issue of the shrinking civic space in Europe is gradually gaining momentum in Brussels, with several consultations, policy proposals actions and other instruments that seek to address different aspects of civic space and the role of civil society. In view of these developments and in line with our objective to empower civil society and enhance civic space, Civitates has committed in December 2022, 400 000 EUR to 6 organisations for a period of one year.

Bringing in actors whose core mission is to help civil society better coordinate, carry the advocacy efforts in Brussels and offer opportunities for networking and convergence at a pan-European level is a valuable addition to supporting a strong and resilient civil society in Europe. The 6 organisations that Civitates will be supporting in 2023 act as intermediaries that connect and coordinate the work of national civil societies, have them feed in the debate at the European level, and make their voices heard, urging the institutions to take stronger actions to protect and support civil society across Europe. Our new group of grantees has very good knowledge of the EU policy landscape, the capacity to follow the policy debate, identify the right opportunities, and are with well-established lines of communication with relevant policymakers:

  • Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties): € 60, 000
  • European Civic Forum: € 60, 000
  • European Centre for non-for-profit-law (ECNL): € 60, 000
  • European Policy Centre: € 59, 400
  • Social Platform: € 90, 000
  • Hungarian Helsinki Committee: € 60, 050

We look forward to the cooperation with the new grantee partners and the broader field, striving to shape European civil society rooted in respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, and the rule of law.