The EFC would like to encourage its members and the wider philanthropic community to sign a letter to support an advocacy initiative aimed at creating a new EU financial instrument that would help European civil society organisations (CSOs) actively engaged in the promotion of democracy and EU values within European Union. The initiative was launched by a group of CSOs/philanthropic organisations including Stefan Batory Foundation as a result of the EFC’s Annual General Assembly and conference in Warsaw last year.  Members at the EFC AGA also created the momentum for the creation of CIVITATES, a private donors initiative to support democracy and EU values. To have a bigger impact the EFC and DAFNE joined forces to support the initiative and sent individual letters to policymakers supporting the European Rights and Values instrument and making proposals for how such an instrument could look.

For more information: http://www.efc.be/news/efc-and-dafne-continue-to-engage-with-european-commission-on-european-values-instrument/.

The advocacy initiative has already managed to gain support of European Economic and Social Committee and Fundamental Rights Agency and found allies in the EP LIBE committee. The efforts led to the adoption of the resolution by the European Parliament urging the European Commission to earmark funds for the promotion of European values (European Values Instrument) in the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on 19 April. Then in May, the European Commission presented a proposal on MFF which included a budgetary line for the “Rights and Values” programme which was intended to answer the demands of CSOs and the European Parliament. Unfortunately, the European Commission proposal did not address the issue satisfactorily both in terms of the volume of funding and the substance. The “Rights and Values Fund” seems to merge mechanisms that already exist: the “Rights Equality and Citizenship” and “Europe for Citizens” programmes. In addition, it assumes only a minimal increase in funding – from EUR 817 million to EUR 947 million (which in view of inflation means no increase).  We, on the other hand, proposed raising it to at least the level of funding available for countries outside the EU i.e. EUR 2 billion in the seven-year budgetary perspective.

There is still room to influence the final shape (and volume) of the “Rights and Values” Programme as the work on the negotiations on the EU’s new seven year budget is still going on. Right now a group of CSOs is trying to mount support for the proposal for the appropriate budget, the thematic scope and easy procedures for access to funds. The letter will be sent to decision-makers in the Member States and at EU level, including: Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Frans Timmermans.  Other CSOs are encouraged to sign the letter, which can be signed online at the NGO portal: http://wiadomosci.ngo.pl/wiadomosc/2189549.html

Note the website is in Polish but the letter is easy to find by scrolling down the homepage to see “read the letter” and to add your organisation, country and city to the online form.

Please note the deadline for signing is Monday, 8th October

For more information, please contact Hanna Surmatz at the EFC on hsurmatz@efc.be