On 28 and 29 March civil society activists and academics from all over Europe, including from the Balkans and Black Sea Region gathered at the European Civic Academy in Słubice, at the Collegium Polonicum, an academic institution and symbol of German and Polish reconciliation and of European unity. The meeting was organised in cooperation with OFOP, the Polish national civil society platform, the European Association for Social Sciences and Humanities and was co-funded as part of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness by Swedish Cooperation.
Participants discussed together challenges and threats around civic freedoms, smear campaigns against civil society, attacks on human rights and the rule of law in the context of emerging illiberal democracies and authoritarian governments. They shared academic and practical thoughts and studies on the roots and causes of populism and interactions with civil society, the role of “uncivil society”, as well challenging pre-conceptions on this topics. SOLIDAR Foundation brought the delegation of 12 international activists and representatives of its members and presented their work on the campaign for the European Elections – Behind Nationalism and discussed with participants the importance of mobilising for a critical vote. The phenomenon of state capture and corporate capture was also addressed.
Participants use the opportunity to share good practices on civil society organisations resilience and legitimacy in a political landscape in which civic space is steadily shrinking.