By the EESC's Diversity Europe Group

The EESC's Diversity Europe Group is organising a conference in Rijeka, Croatia, to discuss the role of civil engagement in tackling some of the major issues facing Europe today.

In recent years, the EU has been facing challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, increased migration and shrinking space for civil society, which are potentially undermining its fundamental values in new ways.

On the other hand, the EU has also witnessed civic engagement. During these processes, many citizens across the EU have demonstrated their solidarity towards others and willingness to work towards sustainable lifestyles.

The EESC's Diversity Europe Group wishes to take up this subject and invite members and representatives of civic society to debate their role in the promotion and protection of European fundamental values such as human rights, democracy, equality and the rule of law.

The conference, entitled Civic society: the backbone of European values, will take place in the coastal city of Rijeka, Croatia, European capital of culture 2020, at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Rijeka.

The discussion will be divided into three panels. chaired by EESC members from Croatia belonging to the Diversity Europe Group.

The first panel, moderated by Pavić-Rogošić, will address the role of civic society organisations in protecting the key pillars of democracy: an independent judiciary and institutions, critical civil society and independent media.

During the next panel, the speakers and the public will discuss how the EU and civic solidarity stakeholders can work together on a sustainable response to intense global migration flows. The talks will be facilitated by Marina Škrabalo.

The last panel, moderated by Toni Vidan, will focus on the European Green Deal and the role of civil society organisations in developing and implementing this potentially transformative agenda for the EU.

The conference, originally scheduled for 25 March, has had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For updates please see: (sb/cl)