The conference looked at how we can enable, protect and expand Europe's civic space, to strengthen democracy, social and environmental justice. It sought to create a strategic approach for an open civic space in the EU.
European Civic Forum and Civil Society Europe organised the conference. It ran from 5 to 6 December in Brussels. It brought together over 100 participants from civil society from the EU, national and grassroots levels, several European Commission Directorates General, the European Parliament, Intergovernmental Organisations, public and private donors, and FRA.
The conference identified areas of action that are needed to address civic space challenges strategically at the EU level. These include the development of a protection mechanism for human rights defenders in the EU, the need to invest in strengthening the resilience of the civil society sector, further developing civil dialogue at EU level, and suggestions for how donors could support civil society more strategically and effectively.
At the conference, the European Commission presented its newly-published annual report on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, which focuses this year on civic space.
FRA supported this report by analysing the five stakeholder consultations carried out for the report, including an online consultation with its Fundamental Rights Platform.