Strengthening the role of civil society in the European Semester

On 22 October, Social Platform took part in the 3rd Civil Society seminar organised by the European Centre of Expertise in the field of Labour Law and Labour Market Policy (ECE) on behalf of the European Commission. It brought together around 100 participants, mainly from national- and European-level civil society organisations (CSOs).

The seminar started with presentations by Commission staff about the 2019 edition of its Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) review dedicated to the topic of sustainability and preliminary results of the 2019 Social Scoreboard, which monitors the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights by tracking trends and performances across EU countries.

Next, four researchers presented their work on the state of CSOs in the EU in general, and the topics were explored in more detail in a series of break-out sessions with a particular focus on the European Semester process:

  • Legal environment and levels of civic participation
  • Financial stability and independence of CSOs
  • Human capital and analytical capabilities
  • Impact on policy-making

Participants came up with a wide array of recommendations to strengthen the role of CSOs, including: the development by EU institutions of guidelines for countries on how to create regulatory frameworks for regular and meaningful consultation of CSOs; adequate funding to ensure secure and dignified employment of qualified, professional staff; and multi-year, operational funding agreements rather than project funding.

Social Platform will continue discussions with DG Employment about ways to improve the participation of CSOs in the Semester process, both at European and national levels.

Read our position on ‘Civil society participation and partnership’ here.