PROJECT INFORMATION Real Civil Society Democracy in Europe

  • Title of the project: Real Civil Society Democracy in Europe
  • Focus:  Involvement of the civil society organizations representing citizens in European politics and European level 
  • Started year:  2010 
  • Finished year: 2015 
  • Partners:  Trade Unions: Solidar European Network, IDEAS Institute-Ireland, CSV-United Kingdom, La lingue de l´ensignement-France, Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro CGIL-Italy. 
  • Funding: EU Europe for Citizens programme- Actions 2, Measure 3.
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PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Overall objective: 

This project aims to restore trust and credibility in the capacity of the EU to find a solution towards tackling the most urgent social needs and unemployment: participation and trust in the European projects and the rise of radical, right-wing extremist, xenophobic, populist and anti-European movements. The project consists in an analyse of the civil society´s involvement in democratic processes in the EU Member States by pointing out deficits and areas of improvements and recommending specific policies.  

Immediate objective: 

  1. Increase the knowledge in civil society organisations in EU countries and at European level about their rights and possibilities democratically to influence the EU policy decision making process in the national parliaments and in EU institutions. 
  2. Train and build up the capacity in the civil society organisations to demand a role in the decision-making process at national and European level. 
  3. Raise awareness in the public and in the political systems at national and European level about the participatory system and influence the politicians to take responsibility for realizing and promoting European principles and ideas. 

Results of the project´s analysis: 

  • Output 1.1General lack of uniformity and structured approach to consultation and dialogue, since each DG has a significant share of autonomy when it decides how to communicate with civil society. Consequently, different communicative practices and methods have been adopted even though the Commission has specified its consultation and communication procedures on “General principles and minimum standards for consultation of interested parties”. 
  • Output 1.2: The relevance of the inclusion of consultation in the legislative framework in order to make the consultation mechanism more effective with formalised and specific rules. 
  • Output 1.3: The financial crisis strongly effected the consultation mechanisms because the austerity measures and cuts adopted by the Member States limited COS´s budget and capacities for their day-to-day business. 
  • Output 1.4: The EU Commission´s lack of accountability for its character of neutrality as technocratic and political institution. EU Commission is not scrutinized by the European Parliament and the Council in monetary terms. Furthermore, the Commissions lacks a dispute settlement system between CSOs and EU institutions. So, if conflicts regarding grant administration arise, no official dispute settlement procedure is in place to govern the settlement of these conflicts. 
  • Output 1.5: Experienced difficulties for citizens in accessing the European Ombudsman, that is the channel through which it is possible to complain about maladministration in EU institutions. It is essential to ensure that the EU Ombudsman fulfills its role as mediator, but also protector of citizens´ rights. 
  • Output 1.6: Improvement in the availability and accessibility of information by making the documents released by the consultations available, comprehensive and published thorough one central bureau to enable civil societies to participate in the policy process. 
  •  Output 1.7: Importance in the establishment of alliances between different networks and co-operations between the national, local, regional and European level of civil society. 
  •  Output 1.8: The necessity either to improve existent consultation mechanisms in Poland and Bulgaria or to reform deteriorated consultation mechanisms such as in Greece and Hungary.

 

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