The Category for the Voluntary Sector is made up of members of the Diversity Europe Group (Group III) and of the Employers' Group (Group I), who belong to national or EU-level voluntary sector organisations and represent foundations, associations, NGOs or other types of organisation interested in promoting the rule of law and free movement of people and goods, as well as protecting civil liberties and human rights. At a time when freedom of association is under threat and when more generally the voluntary sector must step up its efforts to maintain its freedom and independence, the members of the category are planning to suggest at the EESC points for discussion and public policies to help re-energise European civil society.
As the French term for the voluntary sector, "vie associative" suggests, it plays the role of a mediator between individuals and the state, defending the general interest and the crucial values of mutual respect and altruism, whose corollaries are pluralism and social benefit.
Voluntary organisations reflect the broad diversity of interests and identities present in modern society and their mission is to work towards creating the conditions for meaningful social dialogue. In the rather gloomy context of increasing intolerance, social injustice and reduction in civic spaces, the prospect of strengthening civil society provides a glimmer of hope.
Diversity Europe (Group III) provides the secretariat for this category.