29 May 2020

Why we need to revive civil dialogue – EESC published Participatory Democracy Compendium

At a time when civil dialogue and our own democratic and societal models are facing new threats such as the rise of populism, disinformation, inequality and Euroscepticism, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) reviews ways to revive participatory democracy. The EESC´s newly published compendium brings together all opinions and reports which, over the last thirty years, have enabled the EESC and philanthropic and wider civil society organisations to strengthen participatory democracy and become part of the European decision-making process.


However, the EESC warns that participatory democracy is experiencing – and will continue to experience – major upheavals over the coming years. Therefore, according the EESC it is now more important than ever for civil society to mobilise and make sure its voice is heard, improve participatory democracy and become better organised to secure full implementation of Article 11 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU), which guarantees the civil dialogue.


This is very much in line with wider civil society sector asks for a stronger civil dialogue and our Philanthropy Manifesto, which also calls on EU policy makers to recocnise and engage with philanthropy.  The EESC also underlines that now is an opportunity to confirm its own role as cornerstone of civil dialogue vis-à-vis the other EU institutions. The crucial moment for civil dialogue is the Conference on the Future of Europe [provide link], which in its current shape does not foresee the direct participation of civil society organisations. The EESC has promised to relay the views of civil society organisations and to secure a position as a major player in the game including advocating for possible treaty changes.


The philanthropy infrastructure together with civil society partners has called for a strong civil dialogue and inclusion of civil society in the Conference on the future of Europe. Philanthropic organisations are key actors and partners in supporting wider civil society, community cohesion and the European values such as democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. The EESC itself has recognised the importance of the philanthropic sector at several occasions, such as in this opinion “European philanthropy: an untapped potential”.