The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published the second report on Protecting civic space in the EU, building on the previous one from 2018. This report Protecting civic space in the EU highlights that civil society organisations across the EU face threats, attacks, funding cuts and disproportionate restrictions as well as other challenges and that the Coronavirus pandemic has worsened their working conditions.
While the report also highlights positive developments and promising practices, FRA calls on policymakers to foster a more conducive working environment for civil society, helping to realise all human rights for all. Specific recommendations include:
- Monitor developments – keep track of civil society challenges and find ways to respond rapidly to counter restrictions;
- Safeguard rights – ensure the EU and national laws strengthen the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association;
- Provide funding – address civil society needs in EU funding and remove funding obstacles;
- Encourage dialogue – support an open, transparent and regular dialogue between policymakers and civil society at the EU, national and local levels;
- Protect civil society – ensure effective protection against attacks and administrative harassment.
This report is based on evidence collected by the Agency’s research network in 2020, two online consultations with civil society organisations and desk research. It builds on FRA’s 2018 report on civil society challenges.