View this email in your browser

European Civic Academy 2022:
Capturing the winds of change, together

On 10-11 November, academics, civil society representatives and activists gathered in Florence to attend the fifth European Civic Academy. This year’s event was held on the theme “Capturing the winds of change: how can democratic civil society drive systemic change?” The sessions covered a range of topics, but one message emerged again and again: our strength is in our unity, particularly when we face common challenges. It is in this same spirit that we must now come together to push for an enabling environment for civil society. 

In recent decades, large-scale crises have affected Europe and the world, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine just the most recent examples. These multifaceted crises demonstrate the systemic nature of the challenges we face today, including climate change, social injustice and rising precarity, and the long-term consequences of conflicts. In this context, there is rising frustration among people all over the world, and this is too often channelled into reactionary and far-right politics. The winds of change are blowing. We must make sure they blow in the right direction – towards greater social justice, democracy, and equality.  

It is around this central theme that European Civic Academy 2022 was held. How can we, as democratic civil society, capture this desire for a different world and drive systemic change? Over the two days, we heard insights from a diverse group academics and activists on a range of topics. We discussed what we can learn from the social movements that have turned to electoral politics. We focused in on how to push for systemic change under “illiberal” governments. We also explored how to engage the disinterested, how to counter the normalisation of far-right narratives and how to create a culture of care within civil society, when so many activists suffer from burnouts, threats and even violence.

The discussions at European Civic Academy 2022 ultimately highlighted the importance of unity and alliance building. Facing shared challenges, we should take inspiration from the mass mobilisations of two decades ago and build broad networks of civil society and social movements across the world. Doing so requires finding the common ground and working up from there. It also means creating a truly enabling environment for civil society. In Europe, these efforts continue to gather pace. Next week, European Civic Forum and Civil Society Europe will convene CSOs from across the continent to build on this work. As Raffaella Bolini rightly told the European Civic Academy audience, “our strength is [our] capability to converge and create unity”. Our priority in the coming months is to do just that.  


European Commission Rule of Law consultation opens; ECF taking submissions in parallel

The European Commission has opened its consultation for its 2023 Rule of Law report. We strongly encourage CSOs to contribute to this consultation, which is an important tool to raise concerns about civic space across the EU. This year the consultation contains more questions on civic space, in line with ECF's own methodology and demands. The consultation is open until 20 January. You can access the survey here!

We would also appreciate it if you could share a copy of your submissions with ECF, as they will act as evidence for our own Rule of Law Report (see our 2022 report here). Please share these with ECF's Research and Advocacy Coordinator Giada Negri (

European Civic Academy 2022 - Catch-up on the event

As mentioned in this month's edito, European Civic Academy 2022 was packed full of fascinating discussions. Read more about the event on the ECA 2022 event page! There you will also find links to the discussion paper, Albena Azmanova's keynote speech and more. Stay tuned for the event recordings and detailed takeaways. Read more!

ECF's Giada Negri discusses strategic approach to civil society at Croatian NGO event

On 25 November, a coalition of Croatian NGOs hosted the event 'Countering Shrinking Civic Space and Creating Enabling Environment for Civil Society in the EU'. ECF's Research and Advocacy Coordinator Giada Negri was a panellist and told the audience that, while the EU has unprecedented tools to foster and protect democracy and the rule of law, they are piecemeal. We lack a comprehensive, strategic approach to supporting and enabling civil society.

Civic Space Watch - ITALY: The decree-law on rave parties and the criminalisation of marginality

Hastily inserted into the first decree-law of the Meloni government, the new Article 434bis of the penal code aims to put an end to rave parties, raising the spectre of criminal sanction. The new law introduces an offence with a maximum sentence limit of more than five years, to exclude access to probation and other potential ‘ways out’ of punishment for minor offences... Read more!

Civic Space Watch - GREECE: New revelations reopen the surveillance scandal

New revelations have reopened the surveillance scandal in Greece. In August, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis admitted that the secret services had been monitoring the opposition leader. New revelations from Documento claim that the list of targets was much broader, including MPs, ministers and journalists ... Read more!

Volonteurope: Registrations are open for the VOSOTROS public forum

What effects does volunteering have on the volunteers? The VOSOTROS project, coordinated by CEMEA and part of the Erasmus+ programme, aims to find out. Gathering eight organisations from France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia, the project produced a range of evaluation methodologies for measuring the impact of volunteering on the individuals, structures, territories and beneficiaries. 

The Public Forum, taking place at Atelier29 in Brussels and online on Tuesday 13 December, will be an opportunity to learn more about the project and its results. The event will be followed by a drinks reception. Register now!


Le mouvement associatif:  EVENT - Les asso face aux discriminations dans l’accès à la prise de responsabilité bénévole

Associations are major players in the fight against discrimination. They are often on the front line in promoting and facilitating equal access to employment, health, housing, etc. However, associations are not inclusive by nature, particularly within their governing bodies. It is therefore important for associations to think about how to ensure that access to leadership is not subject to conscious or unconscious discrimination.

To address this issue, Le Mouvement associatif is organising a webinar (in French) on 12 December at 15:00 to 16:15. Register for the event here!


European House Budapest: In-Between Initiative 2.0

On 29 November, European House Budapest gathered together partners of the In-Between Initiative to discuss the Shadow Report, a citizen reflection paper on the 3rd Report of the Commission on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies (MRS). It is European House's conviction that the In-Between approach, acting as an interface between the EU institutions and citizens and their local communities can bring about tangible results. Read the Shadow Report here!

Nyt Europa: Art of Fundamental Rights Exhibition Opens in Brussels

Yesterday, the Art of Fundamental Rights Exhibition opened in Brussels. The project, led by Nyt Europa, uses art to inspire a broad public to interact in the debate about our common fundamental rights. The exhibition has just opened at Philanthropy House in Brussels and will be on display for the next six months. Read more about the project! 


European Movement Italy: Call to complete the federal purpose of European integration

Since 1952, the European Parliament has been the citadel of European democracy, a public space for the defense of fundamental rights and for the construction of a united Europe based on solidarity. As a meeting place for the great European political cultures, the European Parliament has acquired over the past seventy years a growing influence and legitimacy in the continent and in the world. As early as 1952, the ad hoc Assembly which emerged from the ECSC European Parliament was explicitly charged by the governments of the Six with writing the Basic Law of the European Political Community.

This was supposed to create the democratic framework necessary for the establishment of the European Defense Community. Since its election by direct universal suffrage in 1979, the European Parliament has taken on the task of paving the way for ever closer integration among the peoples of Europe by adopting the draft Treaty establishing the European Union (1984). On the eve of a process that will be destined to unify all the democratic countries of the continent, the European Parliament elected for the tenth time in 2024 must assume the mission of completing the federal finality of community integration with the writing of a draft constitution to be submitted to the sovereign peoples within the framework of a pan-European referendum. The architecture of a united Europe that puts an end to the division of the continent will thus be completed by a truly democratic path to promote peace, security, and international cooperation.

European Commission proposes to withhold €7.5 billion of EU funds from Hungary over Rule of Law concerns

After Hungary missed its deadline to implement reforms negotiated by the European Commission, the EU executive decided on 30 November to recommend withholding €7.5 billion in funds over concerns about corruption and the independence of the Supreme Court. Read more!

OECD: First global report on the protection and promotion of Civic Space

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has produced its first global report into the Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance. 

The report will be launched at an online event, taking place on Friday 16 December at 15:00 CET. Register here!
Copyright © 2022 European Civic Forum, all rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
European Civic Forum
167 boulevard de la Villette
Paris 75010

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
European Civic Forum · 167 boulevard de la Villette · Paris 75010 · France