19 September 2019 | Open letter

Brussels, 19th September 2019

While the European Parliament committees are preparing their questions for the hearings of Commissioner-designates starting on 30th September, about 200 civil society organisations from across Europe co-sign an open letter to MEPs drawing their attention on the missing elements in President-elect Von der Leyen’s mission letters and portfolios.

As pointed out in the letter, in an echo to numerous reactions from across Europe, the signatories deplore “unacceptable nominations or unfortunate titles of portfolios”. They notably find it “unacceptable that a former Justice Minister from the Hungarian government is given the responsibility to monitor the Rule of Law in accession and neighbouring countries” while he contributed to dismantle it at home.

The open letter reminds MEPs of their longstanding commitments to develop civil dialogue under the provisions of article 11 of the TEU, urging them for support to reconsider mission letters accordingly. The mandates should cover the whole spectrum of civil dialogue tools. With regards to its field expertise and connection with citizens, organised civil society should be explicitly considered as a valuable dialogue partner for policy making and evaluation.  Our demands come in support of the concerns and proposals put forward by Civil Society Europe in a Roadmap for Civil Dialogue in Europe.

Raffaella Bolini, Vice-President of the European Civic Forum and a long-term activist with ARCI in Italy says that “recognising our role, defending and protecting our space should be a key responsibility of the European institutions willing to uphold the European democratic project.”

“Today, the EU is not just a union of nations and states and of markets and money, it is also a union of citizens.” adds Roger Casale, Vice-President of the European Civic Forum and Founder of New Europeans. “The European Commission needs to up its game and demonstrate that civil society actors can operate safely across the whole of the EU.”

“We are in a critical juncture with the European Union” as believes Jean-Marc Roirant, President of the European Civic Forum. “This Commission and the newly elected Parliament must set a priority to protect civic space and make sure that the voice of civic associations and movements is heard in European processes, alongside the voice of the social partners and corporate interests”.


A real dialogue between institutions and a vibrant and independent organised civil society is vital for an open civic space, a healthy democracy and strong social justice as it allows people to organize themselves, amplify their voices and be heard at local, national and supranational level. Let us see that the Commissioners’ mandated recognise it!


Press contact:

Alexandrina Najmowicz /

Note to the editor:

The full letter is available on the website of the European Civic Forum and will be regularly updated with the list of signatories (see below).

European Civic Forum – Europe

SOLIDAR – Europe

A Buon Diritto – Italy

Academia Cidadã – Portugal

Anne Frank Stichting – Netherlands 

ANO pro Evropu – Czech Republic


ARCI Associazione – Italy

AEGEE Europe – Belgium

AEDE France 

AEDE Europe

ANACEJ – France

Asociace NNO V Ceske Republice – Czech Republic

Asociace Občanskych Poraden – Slovakia

Asociatia Pro Democratia – Romania

Associação À Praça – Portugal

Association for Democratic Initiatives – ADI – North Macedonia

ATD Quart-Monde – France

Athens network of collaborating experts – Greece

BlueLink Foundation – Bulgaria

Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement – Germany

Cap Magellan – France

Centrum pre Europsku politiku – Slovakia

Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej – Poland

CMJCF – France

CNVOS – Slovenia

Community Development institute – North Macedonia

Coordinamento di Iniziative Popolari di Solidarieta Internazionale – Italy

Democracy international e.V. – Germany

Documenta – Spain

Europa Haz – Hungary 

European Association for the Defense of Human Rights – Belgium

European Institute Foundation – Bulgaria

Movimento Europeo – Italy

ENNA Europe – Belgium

Fondation pour la Solidarité – Belgium

Federation of Polish Organisations – Poland

Jeunes Européens – France

Jeunesse au Plein Air – France

La Ligue de l’Enseignement – France

Latvijas Pilsoniskā alianse – Latvia

Le Mouvement Associatif – France

Les Francas – France

Ligue des Droits de l’Homme – France

Maison de l’Europe Paris – France

SMART – Croatia

Stefan Batory Foundation – Poland

Citizens Network Watchdog – Poland

Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation – Bulgaria

Maecenata Foundation – Germany

No Somos Delito – Spain

Opportunity Associates – Romania 

Center for the Study of Democracy –  Romania

FONSS- Federatia Organizatiilor Neguvernamentale pentru Servicii Sociale – Romania

GO FREE – Asociatia pentru Sprijinirea Societatii Civile – Romania

Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past – Croatia

Close to You Foundation – Romania

PACT Foundation – Romania

Friends of the Earth Europe – Belgium

Centrum Pre Filantropiu – Slovakia

Clean Clothes Campaign – International

ECNL – European Center for Not-for-Profit Law Stichting – The Netherlands

Estonian LGBT Association – Estonia

Polish Donors Forum – Poland

AOI – Cooperazione e Solidarieta’ Internazionale – Italy

Kolegium Europy Wschodniej im. Jana Nowaka-Jeziorańskiego we Wrocławiu – Poland

Bündnis für Gemeinnützigkeit – Germany

Transparencia e Integridade/ Transparency International -Portugal

Roots Research Center-Κέντρο Ερευνών Ρίζες – Greece

Fundacion CIVES – Spain

Nyt Europa – Denmark 

Fundatia pentru Dezvoltarea Societatii Civile – Romania

GONG – Croatia 

Greek Forum of Refugees – Greece

GSI Italia  – Italy 

Incijativa za Razvoj i Saradnju – Serbia

Instytut Spraw Publicznych / Institute of Public Affairs – Poland

Interessen gemeinnütziger Organisationen – Austria 

Kodanikuhariduse keskus – Estonia

Kesalukioseura ky  – Finland

Kretakör Foundation – Hungary

La liga de la educacion – Spain 

Ligue Luxembourgeoise de l’Enseignement – Luxembourg 

Legal information centre for NGOs – PIC – Slovenia 

Legambiente – Italy

National Council for Voluntary Organisations – United Kingdom

Netwerk Democratie – The Netherlands

New Europeans – United Kingdom

NISC – Lithuania

Parlement Européen des Jeunes – France

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations – Scotland

SPIRALIS – Czech Republic 

TERA Maison de l’Europe Charente – France

The ECI Campaign – Germany

The Women’s Centre – Ireland

Volunteering Matters – United Kingdom

We Are Europe e.V. – Germany

Youth Work Ireland – Ireland

Open Dialogue Foundation – Belgium

ePaństwo Foundation – Poland

Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. – Deutschland

Human Rights House Zagreb – Croatia

Europuls – Centre for European Expertize – Romania

ARCI Sud Sardegna – Italy

Open Society Foundation – Slovakia

Foster Europe – Austria

Rights International – Spain

Advocates Abroad – Greece

Open Space Foundation – Bulgaria

Center for Analysis and Socioeconomic Innovation (CAIES) – Romania

Focus Association for Sustainable Development – Slovenia

Open Society Institute – Sofia – Bulgaria

Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations – Estonia

Netherlands Helsinki Committee – Netherlands

Humanitas – Centre for Global Learning and Cooperation – Slovenia

Open Estonia Foundation – Estonia

CROSOL – Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity – Croatia

Hungarian Helsinki Committee – Hungary

Plataforma Portuguesa das ONGD – Portugal

TERRA Mileniul III – Romania

Center for Public Innovation – Romania

The Resource Center for Public Participation – Romania

Front Line Defenders – Ireland

Circolo Arci Grottaglie – Italy

Womanmate Foundation – Hungary

Asociația Ai vointa Ai putere  – Romania

Politiscope –  Croatia

U dobroj vjeri – Croatia

Cenzura Plus – Croatia

Peace Institute – Slovenia

Federation of Nongovernmental Organisation for Child​​ – Romania

International Commission of Jurists – Belgium

Eurochild – Europe

Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum – Germany

Kollektiv KINOKAS – Germany

Liga Portuguesa dos Direitos Humanos – Civitas – Portugal

Human Rights International Corner – Italy

NGOs’ Information and Support Centre – Lithuania

Obywatele RP – Poland

Umanotera, The Slovenian Foundation for Sustainable Development – Slovenia