L’EUROPEAN CIVIL FORUM ha inviato alla Commissione Europea, al presidente del Parlamento Europeo, al presidente del Consiglio europeo e alla prossima presidenza tedesca una lettera sulla riduzione dei fondi, già scarsi, per il Programma Diritti e Valori destinato a sostenere progetti realizzati da organizzazioni della società civile che promuovono e proteggono i valori comuni europei della democrazia, dello stato di diritto e dei diritti fondamentali.
A seguire la lettera in lingua inglese, che è possibile sottoscrivere nel link sotto alla lettera (Anche il Forum del Terzo Settore è tra i firmatari della Lettera)
CSOs Open Letter to European and national leaders
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS: PUT OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS
Dear President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen
Dear Members of the European Parliament
Dear President of the European Council, Charles Michel
Dear Members of the Governments of EU Member States
CC: Vera Jourova, European Commission Vice-President on Values and Transparency
The Croatian Presidency of the EU Council
The forthcoming German Presidency of the EU council
On May 27th, the European Commission presented a strategy of overcoming negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing the future for next generations (2020/98). It also presented a draft 7-year budget for the EU, which is intended to be an essential tool in achieving goals stated in the strategy (2020/442).
We appreciate that the strategy mentions the civil society as an important partner in facing the many challenges brought to our societies by the pandemic. However, we are deeply disappointed that civil society’s role is not adequately reflected in the draft budget. This mismatch is clearly manifested by a proposal to cut the volume of the Rights and Values Programme by over 20 per cent compared to the already very low figure proposed by the Commission in 2018. The Programme was intended to support projects implemented by civil society organisations promoting and protecting common European values of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. It will not be effective without adequate financial resources.
We would like to remind you that the civil society is an element of democracy’s critical infrastructure. CSOs serve their communities by safeguarding common European values enshrined in the Article 2 of the Treaty, and play key role in fostering European integration. With the outbreak of the pandemic, CSOs have proved their effectiveness and commitment to serving our societies and protecting foundational European values and norms. They have been active in supporting communities to better cope with the pandemic, including by providing social services to people at risk, such as the elderly, patients, people in quarantine, minorities, migrants and refugees. They launched projects boosting capacity of public healthcare institutions through support for medical workers, fundraising for hospitals, arranging medical equipment or running information campaigns about the pandemic. CSOs closely monitor the situation of human and civil rights during the lockdown and intervene when common European values are challenged. Their work will continue to be necessary to easing hardship caused by the pandemic to vulnerable social groups, to maintain social cohesion and solidarity, as well as to invigorate political legitimacy of the European project in the years after the pandemic.
Civil society organisations undertake all these activities while facing enormous financial constraints. Sources of funding for CSOs are becoming increasingly scarce – a process which accelerated with the outbreak of the pandemic.
We regret that the draft budget fails to acknowledge CSOs’ contribution to European societies. We also regret that the proposal ignores long-standing calls of hundreds of organisations from across the EU, and other actors (including the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee) to increase support for CSOs. We are afraid that cutting the funds for the civil society will only aggravate the social and political problems that the EU will be facing in the coming years. It will also send a wrong signal about the EU’s commitment to its values and citizens’ rights.
We encourage you to rectify what appears to be a significant political mistake potentially affecting millions of European citizens. We call on you to significantly increase the budget of the Rights and Values fund, optimally to the level demanded by the European Parliament, i.e. to 1.83 billion EUR (current prices).
We will liaise with European and national institutions in order to make sure that the final Multiannual Financial Framework provides necessary means to civic organisations, which promote and protect common European rights and values on local, national and European levels.
We are looking forward to receiving a response to our concern. We are at your disposal for any clarification and constructive dialogue on this matter.
LIST OF SIGNATORIES
European Civic Forum, Europe • Stefan Batory Foundation, Poland • Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement (B.B.E), Germany • Civic Alliance, Latvia • Civilisation coalition, Hungary • CNVOS, Slovenia • CROSOL – Croatia • De Verenigde Verenigingen, Belgium • Forum del Terzo Settore, Italy • Fundatia pentru Dezvoltarea Societatii Civile | Civil Society Development Foundation, Romania • Global Fokus, Denmark • Građanske Inicijative | Civic Initiatives, Serbia • Interessenvertretung Gemeinnütziger Organisationen | Interest Group of Public Benefit Organisations, Austria • Le Mouvement Associatif, France • National Federation of Polish NGOs (OFOP), Poland • Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO), Estonia • NISC, Lithuania • Ökotárs – Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation, Hungary • Solidarity Now, Greece • SPIRALIS, Czech Republic
ARCI, Italy • Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Hungary • Board of EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, Germany • Volonteurope, Belgium • Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic • Polish Robert Schuman Foundation, Poland • Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe – DARE network, Belgium • EuroClio – European Association of History Educators, Netherlands • Asociatia Grup de Actiune Locala Berceni, Romania • FECED Leul Albastru, Romania • Open Lithuania Foundation, Lithuania • Russian LGBT Network, Russia • EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Czech Republic • TERRA Milleniul III, Romania • Funky Citizens, Romania • AFEW International, Netherlands • Romanian Academic Society, Romania • Clean Air Action Group, Hungary • Asociatia Formare, Dezvoltare, Asistenta FORDA, Romania • CENTRAS – The Assistance Center for NGOs, Romania • Rights International Spain, Spain • Federation of Non-governmental Organizations for Social Services – FONSS, Romania • Asociatia Ecopolis, Romania • Fundatia PACT – Parteneriat pentru Actiune Comunitara si Transformare, Romania • Asociatia Eurolife, Romania • Antigone, Italy • FILIA Center, Romania • Asociatia ACCEPT, Romania • Institute for Public Affairs, Poland • Association for Legal Intervention, Poland • Fund for Global Human Rights, United Kingdom • Südost Europa Kultur, Germany • Foundation ClientEarth Prawnicy dla Ziemi, Poland • Center for Public Innovation, Romania • UNESCO IPL – People of African Descent & SDGs E Team, United Kingdom • Open Society Institute – Sofia Foundation, Bulgaria • Carpathian Foundation, Hungary • Europuls Centre of European Expertize, Romania • Federacja Znaki Równości, Poland • NGO Slovo 21, Czech Republic • Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Proit Law, Bulgaria • POLA – Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition, Lithuania • Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Netherlands • Access to Information Programme, Bulgaria • Ekopolis Foundation, Slovakia • Opportunity Associates, Romania • Fundatia Corona, Romania • Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights, Lithuania • Information Legal Centre, Croatia • Iniciatíva Inakosť, Slovakia • Fundacja Pole Dialogu, Poland • ActiveWatch, Romania • Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), Lithuania • Fundacja dla Wolności, Poland • Bulgarian Donors’ Forum, Bulgaria • DEMAS – Asssociation for Democracy Assistance and Human Rights, Czech Republic • Association for Community Relations (ARC), Romania • Fundatia Inima de Copil, Romania • Center for Equality Advancement, Lithuania • Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation, Bulgaria • LSB Pakruojo skyrius, Lithuania • Freedom from religion foundation, Poland • Jewish Association Czulent, Poland • Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Bulgaria • ePaństwo Foundation, Poland • Védegylet Egyesület, Hungary • Association for Supporting MDR TB Patients, Romania • Romanian Center for European Policies (CRPE), Romania • CEEweb for Biodiversity, Europe • Romani CRISS, Romania • Transcena Association, Romania • Pro Democracy Association, Romania • E-Romnja Association, Romania • ECPI-Euroregional center for Public Initiatives, Romania • ARTICLE 19, Global • CIVICA, Romania • Resource Center for Public Participation – CeRe, Romania • BlueLink Foundation, Bulgaria • Fundatia Centrul Parteneriat pentru Egalitate, Romania • Europe for Citizens contact point, Netherlands • Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives Foundation (BILI), Bulgaria • UNITED for Intercultural Action, Netherlands • Human Rights Voice, Lithuania • The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Lithuania • ACI – Centro InterCulturaCidade, Portugal • Edukacja w Dzialaniu, Poland • HELP, Croatia • Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, Global • Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden • Peace Institute, Slovenia • New Europeans AISBL, Belgium • European Movement, Italy • Italian platform on the future of Europe, Italy • European House, Hungary • Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Germany • Open Estonia Foundation, Estonia • Estonian Human Rights Centre, Estonia • European Roma Grassroots Organizations (ERGO) Network, Europe • Young, Active, Creative NGO, Bulgaria • Filia.die Frauenstiftung, Germany • Declic, Romania • Human Catalyst Association, Romania • Association for Integration and Migration, Czech Republic • Ecumenical Women’s Initiative – Prospera Women’s Funds Europe, Croatia