Next week SOLIDAR Foundation will publish the Citizenship and Lifelong Learning Monitor that will map the relationship between citizenship and democratic societies. The data shows that NGOs and Civil Society Organizations contribute hugely to the debate and implementation of methods that are necessary for a democratic culture and peaceful societies. The common concern of our members, however, remains access to funding and the sustainability of their actions. For this reason, SOLIDAR Foundation welcomes the action of the European Parliament that this week backed the creation of a European Values Instrument to support civil society organisations that promote fundamental values such as democracy and the rule of law in the European Union.
This new instrument should be included in the EU’s next long-term budget, from 2020. It should receive at least as much funding as the current European instrument for democracy and fundamental rights, which serves a similar purpose for countries outside the EU. It should be managed directly by the European Commission and focus on promoting fundamental values at the local and national level. It is essential that this new instrument is complementary to existing programmes designed to promote and protect these values and should not come at the expense of existing funds in these areas.
The European Commission will issue the communication that will propose the new budget on 2 May. Besides the sustainable funding for CSOs we also call for increased funding of Erasmus+ in order to allow a broader and more diverse participation in the programme.