EESC's Various Interests Group calls for innovation in civil society

by the EESC's Various Interests Group

An extraordinary meeting of the Various Interests Group held on 15 February saw the presentation of a study entitled The future evolution of civil society in the European Union by 2030. The EESC had commissioned the Centre for information service, cooperation and development of NGOs (CNVOS - Slovenia) and the European Network of National Civil Society Associations (ENNA) to carry out the study. 

Its aim was to better understand what is going on within European civil society organisations (CSOs), what challenges they face, how those challenges are affecting them and how to respond to them.

The study, as well as the panellists – among them Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, European Parliament vice-president in charge of relations with the EESC and the CoR – and participants at the event pointed to clear and encouraging signs – first and foremost, the willingness of CSOs and institutions to engage and stand up for and act upon the European values outlined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights), and preserve and develop the European democratic system, in which CSOs glue together our societies, playing an intermediary role between citizens and institutions.

CSOs promote and defend our fundamental European values. They forge and consolidate identity, trust and solidarity. In order to ensure that they adapt to changes and challenges, and keep on playing their advocacy and participatory role in the decision-making process, a number of measures will have to be put in place. Innovative working methods should be devised, focusing on diversifying funding sources, adapting managerial strategies and developing new services related to civic education, media literacy and fact-checking. (ih)