The Civil Society Forum from Central and Eastern Europe continues and renews traditions of cooperation and joint action of civil society organizations in Central and Eastern Europe and brings fresh ideas and energy from the region to the wider Europe, while mobilizing civil society in the EU and beyond towards common advocacy objectives. The ambition of the Forum is to provide concrete solutions and recommendations for action to the European Governments and EU Institutions to strengthen democracy and to protect essential values on which European peace and prosperity have been built: respect for human dignity, for diversity and inclusion.
Strengthening democracy and protecting essential values on which European peace and prosperity have been built: respect for human dignity, for diversity and inclusion. The 2016 Forum, organized in Bucharest on 25 November, focused on exploring the role of civil society in the new European political landscape dominated by the refugee crisis, rise of populism, spreading democratic backsliding and erosion of the liberal democracy and of the support for the European project. The aim was to discuss the most serious challenges and future trends and to explore how civil society can take greater responsibility and play a more significant role in the current context. The main function of this year’s Forum is to consult with like-minded civil society organizations on the ideas of coordinated actions to support democracy in Europe. Over 50 speakers from 12 countries discussed several ideas about joint civic mobilization campaigns, multi-stakeholder dialogues on democracy, institutional mechanisms on rule of law and democracy at EU level.
A working document which contains four proposed lines of actions was presented: an overarching framework and a common banner for a concerted CSO campaign on democracy during the period 2017-19, a series of ‘citizen democracy dialogues’ at local level, opening sensitive issues and debate problems with the state of democracy. It also contained a concerted advocacy at EU level in part to support effective democracy monitoring and robust use of the ‘rule of law’ instrument and gaining support for citizen initiatives and joint planning primarily on democracy issues with relevant CSOs with a view to preparing cooperation with governments due to assume EU Presidencies in 2017-20. The working document is available here.
BCSDN’s Ilina Nesik contributed to the discussion on “What support for civil society initiatives on democracy in Europe?” with the findings and recommendation from the Monitoring Matrix reports and the “Donor Strategies and Practices for Supporting Civil Society in the Western Balkans” report.