COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Report on EU engagement with Civil Society in External Relations
1. This report sets out the European Union’s progress on engaging with civil society over the last four years.
2. In 2012, the Commission proposed enhanced engagement with civil society in Communication 13788/12: The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with civil society in external relations. The Communication set three priorities for EU support: i) enhance efforts to promote a conducive environment for civil society organisations (CSOs) in partner countries; ii) promote a meaningful and structured participation of CSOs in the domestic policies of partner countries, EU programming cycles and international processes; iii) increase local CSOs’ capacity to perform their roles as independent development actors more effectively. The Council endorsed the proposal and invited the Commission to report back on progress by 2016.
3. The report states that EU support to CSOs has increased significantly since 2012; the EU has become a leading donor and civil society considerations are now integrated in all EU external policies. The EU is now the third largest donor, directing €2 billion (£1.7 billion) per year to support CSOs worldwide, which accounts for 12% of EU official development assistance.