‘Shrinking civil space’ was one of the new terms we all had to learn in the past half-decade. Threats to the free, independent and autonomous operation and indeed to the sheer existence of CSOs is by now not something that only happens in faraway, exotic countries with little or no democratic traditions, but occurs within the borders of the European Union, too – particularly in Central European member states, but warning signs have been observed in “established democracies” such as Germany, France and Spain. The symptoms of narrowing space range from discrediting and vilification campaigns by (government-friendly) media with libellous accusations, harassing inspections by official authorities (such as the tax agency), attempts to close down individual organization (in Bulgaria), and legal restrictions to the freedom of association (Hungary) and assembly (Poland). Read more here.
Source: Visegrad Insight