The 215 participants in the meeting included the European Commissioner for Justice, one of the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 winners, Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties, as well as representatives of over 100 civil society organisations from across the EU, Norway, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Also present were key European and international partners such as the European Commission and relevant Agencies, Council of Europe, European Network of NHRIs (ENNHRI) and the United Nations.
The meeting discussions focused on how strengthening civil society and the rule of law can be mutually beneficial. The participants emphasised the need to explain the basics of the rule of law to the public and show how it relates to everyday life. They concluded that it is vital for civil society to share good practices and engage in cross-sector cooperation to improve access to data and funds, and improve their communication, lobbying, monitoring, networking and capacity building skills.
The participants recognised the active engagement of the European Commission and FRA in addressing civic space challenges, such as a restrictive regulatory environment, lack of funding and limited access to and participation in decision making. They also called for civil society organisations to assist the European Commission in designing a way forward to ensure their meaningful participation in policy making.
A detailed meeting report will be available in December.