19 March 2021

EESC Study on organised civil society during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

A new EESC study demonstrates the essential contributions of civil society organisations during the initial and continued response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The study raises the question how CSOs will uphold their capacity to fulfil their mission in the aftermath of the crisis, as they are faced with shrinking funding streams, unstable legal environments, and limited capacities to onboard the digital transformation. Some policy recommendations include a lower administrative burden for CSOs to access public funding; establishment of alliances with and prominent involvement of social economy and other civil society actors; and equipment of CSOs with the needed skills and resources to enhance cross-sectorial collaboration.

The launch event of the abovementioned study, titled “The response of civil society organisations to face the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent restrictive measures adopted in Europe”, took place on Friday 12 March during a hybrid conference with attendees from the policy and civil society sides alike. The Study was requested by the EESC Diversity Europe Group and combines quantitative and qualitative research.


Cross-border philanthropy requires an enabling environment

Miguel Angel Cabra de Luna from ONCE Foundation, CEPES and SEE, at the Friday EESC event stated the need for an enabling environment for philanthropy/foundations to act across-borders. As Miguel Cabra de Luna stressed our sector is still facing barriers for cross-border work such as foreign funding restrictions and complex rules for cross-border action – we would welcome if policy makers could create an enabling space for cross-border philanthropy and public benefit work via the creation of a European Statute and an EU code of conduct to better implement the non-discrimination principle. He also said that it is important to build the Civil Society sector’s capacities in order to be able to engage in meaningful civil dialogue – we have been advocating for a meaningful civil dialogue also within a wider civil society coalition. Such a dialogue between policy makers and the civil society is crucial also in light of the national recovery and resilience plans (NRRPs).

Philanthropy Advocacy has reached out to the EU institutions in an open letter on 8 April 2020 calling for effective solidarity across borders concerning COVID-19 and providing policy recommendations on how to foster the full potential of cross-border philanthropy. Additionally, Philanthropy Advocacy contributed to the Civil Society Europe study on the participation of CSO in the preparation of the NRRPs. In that regard, Philanthropy Advocacy also continues engagement to ensure the inclusion of civil society and philanthropic organisations in the implementation of the NRRPs.