Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law - The shrinking civil space

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Karolina Dreszer-Smalec, Vice President of the FRRL Group

"More and more civil society organisations in the European Union are seeing their freedom to act limited. Due to a shrinking of the civil space, the limitation of the freedoms of civil society organisations also directly affects the freedoms of regular citizens and their possibility to advance their rights.
The EESC believes that in order to preserve democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law, we must preserve the civic space and oppose the current trend that leads towards shrinking space for civil society organisations."

Question: What is your main concern regarding the current state of fundamental rights and the rule of law in the European Union?

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Chair of EP LIBE Committee

"There are many. Hate speech, shrinking space for pluralism, a stigmatisation of minorities, attacks against the independance of judiciary, against fundamental freedoms, freedom of expression, association, or political participation. And of course, national populism on the rise – which is a major threat to democracy, fundamental rights, and to the very idea of European Union."

Question: How would you describe in one word the current trends in the area of fundamental rights and the rule of law in the EU?

Natacha Kazatchkine, Head of the EU Internal policy team for the Open Society European Policy Institute

 "The better word, I would say now, is 'contested'. Fundamental rights and rule of law are contested. People, individuals, communities, starting to contest that they apply to them, that they are effective, that they really give them more freedom and access to justice, and governments tend more and more to use them to divide people or just push their own national or political interests forward. So what should be about our shared humanity, our shared rights and freedoms, becomes an issue of division.

Question: How do you see the role of civil society in Europe?

The role of civil society is absolutely vital to promote universal rights and the rule of law in a fair society. I think their main role right now is to rebuild solidarity between people, communities, trust in government, real dialogue and social linkages between people."

For a culture of fundamental rights in Europe

Rule of law, Rights for all.


Transcription of the verbatim: 

FRRL_The shrinking civil space_transcript