2 February 2021

Civil society and philanthropy want to have a say around EU rights and values programme (CERV) priorities

Philanthropy Advocacy has already informed about the good news that €1.6 billion will be allocated for the period 2021 – 2027 within the CERV (the Citizenship, Equality, Rights and Values) programme, a much-needed instrument for the promotion of EU values, fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and in support of a vibrant and diverse civil society.

As the reaction to the doubling of the amount put forward in the original proposal, Philanthropy Advocacy together with its civil society partners addressed the European Commission, asking for a bigger involvement of civil society, including philanthropic organisations in the CERV programme.

In the joint letter we asked for a meeting via online consultation, which should be open to all CSOs and other stakeholders working to defend EU values within the EU, and allow for a discussion on the thematic focus and modalities of all the different strands of the CERV programme. Alternatively, we would also welcome the EU Commission’s participation at a meeting that we would organise.

CSOs play a key role in the defence and promotion of EU values, and in the representation and protection of EU citizens’ rights and interests. Allowing civil society to have a say in the Programming exercise would ensure that the Programme adequately responds to the needs of citizens and addresses the critical situations CSOs are reporting, regarding the worrying deterioration of EU values of the rule of law, democracy, human rights, and an enabling civic space.

Consulting civil society on the programming phase of the CERV Programme would be very much in line with Article 11 TEU, which requires EU institutions to ‘maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with civil society and, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action’. Therefore, with our letter we encouraged the European Commission to lead by example in its new push for European democracy and embed democratic principles – such as stakeholder consultation and deliberation – in its own processes.

Please download our civil society’s coalition letter to the EU Commission here: Letter CERV programme consultation _ CSE & HRDN.

Please find more information about the EU Rights and Values fund here.