The European Centre of Expertise (ECE) in the field of Labour Law, Employment and Labour Market Policies on behalf of the Directorate General (DG) for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, Unit A.1 (Employment and Social Aspects of European Semester), held the a Seminar on “Strengthening the Involvement of Civil Society in the European Semester” on Tuesday, 22 October 2019, in Brussels.
The event reaffirmed civil society’s role in sustainable growth, sustainable governance and social justice, a sector which represents 5-7% of the total employment of the OECD countries. The participants discussed the following aspects of civil society activity: legal environment, levels of civic participation, financial stability and independence of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), analytical capabilities, and engagement and impact on policy making. It brought together representatives from civil society across Europe active in the fields of employment, education, social affairs and inclusion. COFACE members from Croatia, France and Greece took part in the event.
The ECE presented recently collected data about civil society in Europe including: the diversity of civil society interests present, the role of civil society (service provision, advocacy and more), how they are funded (from state-funded to completely independent), the characteristics of civil society according to the different social welfare regimes, the size of the civil society workforce, the relevance of civil society for effective democracies (carrying out research, service delivery, advocacy, monitoring, campaigning, citizen mobilisation, alternative channels of representation, enriching policy-shaping and more).
More information on these trends is available from page 52 of the seminar slides.
During the event, the European Commission also provided preliminary results of the 2019 Social Scoreboard, as well as analytical updates based on the following sources: