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Fundamental Rights Agency's consultation with civil society confirms civic freedoms are shrinking in Europe

"Civil society space: Views of organisations - Conference paper", Nov 2018

Civil society organisations (CSOs) play a critical role in democracies, and the importance of their work is widely recognised in international legal and policy documents. However, they face many obstacles when it comes to their day-to-day work... In September 2018, Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) carried out an online consultation with its civil society network, the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP), to complement the findings of its report. The results of the online consultation confirm earlier messages and point to the need to provide civil society with the resources and the ‘safe space’ that it needs to flourish and operate... At Fundamental Rights Forum in September 2018, six sessions explicitly looked at civic space issues: how EU law can protect civil society space; how to promote meaningful citizen participation in public affairs; how to change the narrative on civil society; the role for businesses in supporting civil society space; how to support strategic litigation; and working with different allies... "At a time where European societies are confronted with extremism, radicalism and divisions, it is more important than ever to promote, strengthen and defend justice, rights and EU values. NGOs and civil society play a crucial role in standing up for these European values" [said] Věra Jourová , the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality...

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