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In this own-initiative opinion the EESC calls on the European institutions to promote a positive image of CSOs, preserve their independence and strengthen their capacity for action.
Beside a detailed diagnosis of the situation and role of civil society organisations, the EESC presents 26 recommendations for better civil dialogue and access to resources, including ideas for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework.
The EESC finds that financing of CSOs is essential for participatory democracy and that the article 11 of the TEU on structured dialogue with civil society must be properly implemented. It calls also for the establishment of an EU Ombudsman on civic space freedoms and of a European fund for democracy, human rights and values within the EU.
The Committee considers it vital to develop practical proposals for action to ensure that the various EU institutions act, within their respective remits, to frame suitable measures for implementing Article 11(1) and (2) TEU.To this end, the EESC put forward a set or recommendation which, on the basis of a monitoring and rationalisation of existing processes, could facilitate a bigger structured implication of civil society organisations. The EESC should help to organise, along with all other relevant stakeholders and the EU institutions in particular, a large-scale annual event that would offer shared input to the agenda of EU priorities.
The main aim of this European Year must be active, participatory citizenship. The Year should encourage informed, active and inclusive citizen participation in the European integration process and in political and social life. The EESC advocates specifying the legal basis for the European Year and naming it the European Year of active and participatory citizenship.