Models of Civil Society

It is crucial to understand how important the civic society is – for democracy. Democracy is not only the result of elections – when ones or others political groups are winning.

Democracy means: participation, transparency, the primacy of the rule of law, separation of powers, openness to citizens’ needs. And of course, it is important – to find the proper and effective way for open and transparent decision making processes. It means – to have full respect for all stakeholders.

Representatives of civic organisations are one of the most meaningful stakeholders of all decision making processes.

There is no possibility to keep the checks and balances model in a state without the independent position of NGOs. There is no possibility to solve numerous social problems without civic organisations activities – working complementary in relation to state and government responsibilities. There is no possibility to establish participatory democracy rules without involvement of the civic society.

We need a free space for all civic society activities. It is key for Member States, it should be key for the European Union.

One practical point.

How to finance the civic society organisations? It is the responsibility of the state (proper legal framework is needed also giving the opportunity to citizens – to finance the NGOs). It is the responsibility of the EU programmes – in numerous programmes there are many sources to finance concrete projects for civic society. But – because of many reasons – we need to strengthen and develop European sources to finance NGOs, if we want them to be partners in building and renovating Europe. There are some opportunities – e.g. to prepare the status of the European Foundation with active, cross border and direct access to some European financial sources.

Today, we will have an opportunity to hear a review of some solutions and problems – key for the civic society development in Europe.

Charlotte Rydh, from the Swedish Fundraising Council will present the best practices in cooperation between Civil Society and governments and also the practical ways how to develop the models of fundraising.

Jean Marc Roirant, the president of the Civil Society Europe will present not only his experiences on building the networks of NGOs, but also the EU perspective on the role and significance of the civic society organisations.

Jakub Wygnański, from Poland will present some key challenges related to the functioning of the Civic society organisations in Poland. He has been active in the area of NGOs from the beginning of Polish transformation. He is a kind of founding father of Polish civic society network and leader of the public opinion in this field.