Across Europe we witness a growing pushback against democracy, fundamental rights, the rule of law and the EU values at large. These values include respect for equality, non-discrimination and social inclusion for all (including marginalised and vulnerable groups, migrants, women, disabled, LGBTI). These values are threatened today both by current policies which do not ensure equal access to fundamental rights for all, and regressive populist and authoritarian responses.
Civil society organisations and movements have become targets of populist authoritarian politicians precisely because they protect the democratic standards and institutions, as well as a vision of democracy based on social justice and inclusion. While the UE is becoming more vulnerable with its core values seriously challenged, the work we do for our constituencies on the grounds set out by the EU values is threatened on a daily basis.
The forum thus sets forth to coagulate and enable the contribution of civil society to the strengthening of the European Union values. We shall investigate our greatest challenges in this respect and put forward our expectations from the new EU leaders. Following the 2019 European Parliament elections, we need the new European Parliament and European Commission to actively support civil society to maintain its prominent role in protecting and implementing the EU values, defending and acting for access to fundamental rights for all.
At the conclusion of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, this forum will build a common message of civil society for the future Commission and the future European Parliament in the same spirit of building a value-based Europe and rebuilding the civil society’s space to actively contribute to this goal.