The Civic Pride Awards 2023 took place on 18 September in Brussels, celebrating four outstanding civil society organsiations and movements.
The awards, presented annually, aim to recognise the inspiring work of civil society organisations and movements, raise their visibility at the European level, and share their commitment to EU values, civic freedoms, and democracy.
Out of 123 applications for the European Civic Academy, the Selection Committee selected three outstanding stories to receive a Civic Pride Award: TGEU, Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem (“I want to help refugees”) from Latvia, and the Saami Council and the Indigenous Sámi rights movement from Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. Additionally, a special commendation was given to the Hungarian protest movement of teachers, students, and parents fighting for public education.
This year’s ceremony was opened with a video message from European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova, who could not join the ceremony due to a last-minute engagement in Beijing.
“Civil society organisations and human rights defenders are essential for the well-functioning of our democracies.
“They channel the voices of under-represented groups and support them in shaping laws and policies […] I want to thank you all for your commitment and hard work.” – Vera Jourova
We then heard from each of the winners in turn, before being presented with the Civic Pride Award by ECF Vice President Oonagh Aitken.
Civil society organisations are an essential element of democracy. They are often on the frontlines – mobilising, responding to social needs and defending fundamental rights and democratic frameworks. However, civil society is under pressure in Europe and beyond as we observe democratic backsliding, degradation of the rule of law, growing restrictions on freedoms, and shrinking civic space.
Despite these challenges, civil society organisations, movements, and activists continue to work to make the world a better place, by supporting and strengthening environmental and socio-economic rights, equality, intersectional justice, and civil liberties for all, and more. These awards recognise and support outstanding actors and organisations that work towards these goals.