By the EESC Diversity Europe Group
Do civil society organisations (CSOs) in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Poland share a common understanding of the values of democracy, the rule of law and solidarity?
The new study Finding a new consensus on European civil society values and their evaluation, carried out by the European Policy Centre (EPC) for the EESC at the request of the EESC's Diversity Europe Group, shows that CSOs in the researched countries tend to converge in their definitions of these values, even if they display more diverse interpretations of solidarity than of democracy and the rule of law.
The study also reveals that CSOs recognise the crucial role that the civil sector plays in promoting these values. However, CSOs face diverse challenges in doing so, relating especially to restricted access to funding, technological and generational change and, above all, unfavourable political environments. Government and civil society itself are becoming more confrontational, more political and less open to compromise in all countries studied. CSOs in the South and East describe their situation, perception of values and future outlook less positively than CSOs in the West.
According to the study, the future will require cooperation and innovation from both civil society and governments at all levels if CSOs are to be able to continue defending the values of the European Union.
On 2 September, EESC Diversity Europe Group president Arno Metzler presented the study together with Corina Stratulat, EPC Senior Policy Analyst, and Paul Butcher, EPC Policy Analyst, two of the study's authors, during a remote press event.
Consult the EESC web page to find out more about the proposals and recommendations from CSOs themselves and from the research team presented in the study. The study and its executive summary as well as a related press release are available online.(jk)