EU FRA asks CSOs to share experiences with 'civic space'

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) would like to hear civil society  experiences regarding the challenges that they faced in their day-to-day work during 2020 (“civic space”). The invitation is part of a EU-wide online consultation for civil society organisations. The Agency will use the results of this consultation to promote actions that can improve the conditions for civil society organisations.

Civil society organisations working in an EU Member State, Serbia or North Macedonia, or at EU level, are invited to contribute. Albania just started as FRA ‘observer’ a few days ago and is only ‘entering’ the Agency’s mandate area.  Albanian CSOs can also answer, and indicate as country ‘other – Albania’.

Please, complete FRA's questionnaire here:

This is the third annual FRA consultation on civic space (for reports from previous consultations, see here).
The survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. It will be open from 9 December 2020 until 20 January 2021. Please complete the survey only once for your organisation. All responses are fully anonymised and untraceable.

The questions refer to your organisation’s experiences in the following fields:
1.       regulatory (legal) environment
2.       threats and attacks
3.       access to finance and resources
4.       access to and participation in the decision-making process
5.       The questionnaire also asks a few background questions about your organisation, such as your main working areas and the geographical scope of your work.

The analysis of collected data will be conducted on the basis of this consultation, and civic space research to be conducted in each Member State, Serbia and Northern Macedonia, through the FRANET research network.  The analysis will jointly feed into a report that gives an overview of the situation, and makes recommendations in the different areas of the questionnaire (regulatory environment, finance and funding, availability and accessibility of resources, right to participation, threats and attacks). The report will be published for use by policy makers but of course also by civil society for advocacy purposes.

FRA will provide the findings from this consultation in particular as an input to next year’s European Commission EU Rule of Law report.  The agency’s Flagship report ‘Annual EU Fundamental Rights Report’ will give a short overview of key findings. FRA will further present the findings in national and international fora. And we will hold an online meeting to discuss the findings with civil society. The outcomes will  inform next steps for FRA’s own work on civic space.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is a public EU body with the mandate to advise EU institutions and member states on human rights implementation (in the area of EU law). Consequently, the main purpose of FRA’s work on civic space is to advise policy makers at EU and national levels, on how to improve the conditions for civil society work.
For the past 4 years, the Agency has been working on civic space issues. “We saw this become an increasing issue in the EU, but (4 years ago) it was not really acknowledged also as an inside-EU issue”, said  Wal Heller, FRA Civil society officer.

We felt that as a public EU body, working closely with civil society, we should research what the problems are, and raise awareness about them, Heller explained for BlueLink.  An overview of FRA’s work on civic space is available at Civic space | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (

Агенцията на ЕС за основните права (FRA) е публичен орган на ЕС с мандат да консултира институциите на ЕС и държавите-членки относно прилагането на правата на човека (в областта на правото на ЕС). Основната цел на работата на FRA в гражданското пространство е да съветва създателите на политики на равнище ЕС и на национално ниво за това как да подобрят условията за работа на гражданското общество.

През последните 4 години Агенцията работи по въпросите на гражданското пространство. „Видяхме, че това става все по-голям проблем в ЕС, но преди 4 години той още не беше признат и като проблем вътре в ЕС“, обясни Вал Хелер (на снимката в дясно), служител на FRA за гражданското общество. Сметнахме, че като публичен орган на ЕС, работещ в тясно сътрудничество с гражданското общество, трябва да проучим какви са проблемите и да повишим осведомеността за тях, обясни Хелър за BlueLink. Преглед на работата на FRA върху гражданското пространство е достъпен на Гражданско пространство | Агенция на Европейския съюз за основните права.

Това е третата годишна консултация на FRA относно гражданското пространство (за доклади от предишни консултации вж. тук).

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