ENABLING CIVIC SPACE: Structural Support to Civil Society Actors Protecting/ Strengthening Democracy

Confronting the current challenges and threats to our European democracies, many civil society organisations (CSOs) develop initiatives to protect democratic institutions and try to reverse the trend of shrinking civic space. These efforts, which we have been committed to support since the creation of Citizens for Europe (CFEU) a decade ago, take many different shapes at local, national and European levels like coalition building, knowledge sharing, campaigning, empowering activists, and networking.

This Spring, as Europe was locked-down, we reached out to our community and had fruitful conversations with organisations and networks working on democracy about their most pressing needs and priorities, and on the consequences of the crisis on their impact and action. Because of the health crisis and the related emergency measures, priorities have shifted for many and confirmed a shared need for structural support and strategic action rather than project support.

CFEU Support Framework

Based on our conversations with the community, CFEU has decided to allocate its 2020 budget to bring structural support to CSOs, to further their impact and development and enable them to focus on the strengthening of their capacities and long-term strategy.

CFEU support (up to 10K €) can for example be used to:

  • reflect on your organization’s governance and new orientations
  • allocate staff time to build/consolidate alliances and create new connections
  • cross-pollinate learnings, exchange/replicate/upscale good practices
  • fund advocacy efforts
  • experiment new methods
  • any other actions you consider relevant for the development of your network.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You are part of the Citizens for Europe community
  • You are active in the field of democracy, protection of rights and freedoms, citizen participation.
  • You are an established organisation with access to a trusted network
  • You pay attention to the sustainability of your efforts

Application Process

Please download and fill the application form and send it to the Citizens for Europe Core Team address before the 16th of October 2020, mentioning “Enabling Civic Space” in the subject line.

After evaluation of the applications by the Core Team, the decision will be communicated in the first week of November.

Reporting & other Requirements

Unlike many other granting mechanisms, we consider our support an investment in the community. It is our understanding that transparency and reporting are no tools of control, but serve to build mutual trust and learn from success and failures. We want to encourage you to pro-actively share material with us that you think describes the processes you are going through. We strive to stay in close contact with applicants and grantees to further clarify the needs of CSOs and the built-up of long term relationships. Once a grant is given, the spending of the money is the sole responsibility of the grantee.

Should you have questions regarding the narrative or how to fill in the points, please contact the Program Manager Laetitia Veriter (