By Naitonal Federation of Polish NGOs (OFOP)
Between 17-18 April 2023, The National Federation of Polish NGOs (OFOP) in partnership with the Polish Green Network (PZS) and the Shipyard Foundation, under the auspices of the European Commission, organized the Citizens’ Congress of the Monitoring Committees in Warsaw, during which over 100 representatives of civil society organisations and members of the monitoring committees of national and regional cohesion policy programmes developed over 150 recommendations concerning the governance and the policy objectives of the EU funds in Poland. The Congress has been followed-up by a study tour to Brussels, which took place between the 8th and 10th of May, 2023.
We started our stay with a visit at the European Economic and Social Committee, where we discussed the institutional anchoring of dialogue with civil society organisations in the European Union and the role played by the EESC in this process. We also visited the House of European History, which presents a multidimensional picture of the history of European integration and key historical moments of Europe, which shaped the values and symbols that are important to us today.
We also met with representatives of civil society organisations based in Brussels to reflect on how we can shape and influence European policies together. We met, among others, with Civil Society Europe, European Civic Forum, Open Society Foundations, SOLIDAR, International Federation of Human Rights, Amnesty International and many other organizations.
We ended the visit with a meeting with representatives of the European Commission, during which we discussed the role of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and horizontal principles of the European Union (such as non-discrimination, sustainable development, accessibility, etc.) or the environmental principle of DNSH (do no serious harm) in the processes of monitoring EU funds. Finally, we presented the recommendations of the Citizens’ Congress of European Funds Monitoring Committees, which we organized in April in Warsaw.