(di Giovanni Moro)
This document contains information on the main results and findings of the Survey on public policies regarding civic activism in the 28 “New Europe” countries (25 old and new European Union member states and 3 candidate countries) and at the European Union (EU) level, which is the focus of the Citizens for the New Europe project.
Citizens for the New Europe is a project promoted by Active Citizenship Network (ACN) – the European policy program of the Italian movement Cittadinanzattiva – intended to support national-based citizens’ organizations of the 28 New Europe countries in their efforts to be involved in the building of European citizenship. The project was supported by the European Commission, DG Education and Culture, and by private companies (Bristol Myers Squibb, GE Medical Systems, Bank Pekao, Unicredito Italiano, Alitalia). The project was implemented between September 2002 and December 2003 and involved as partners 32 citizens’ organizations operating at the national level.
The general aim of the project is to promote a European policy on citizens’ organizations, regarding both the European Union institutions and national governments. The rationale for this project can be summarized as follows:
- The gap between EU institutions and European citizens is one of the main reasons behind the needed reform of the European Union;
- Civic organizations – and especially those operating at the national level, in close relationship with common citizens – can contribute to fill this gap;
- A global EU policy on citizens’ organizations, which involves national institutions and values their role in strengthening democracy, is missing;
- There is a need to involve national-based citizens’ organizations in defining and implementing this policy;
- This involvement should start with the production of relevant information on the situation
The project has, therefore, two sides:
- A cognitive side, consisting in creating an information base on public policies on civic activism in Europe;
- A policy side, consisting in setting up a program to strengthen citizens’ organizations at the national and European levels, to be implemented at the end of the project.
Regarding the cognitive side, Active Citizenship Network chose to conduct a survey, because it’s a type of research that aims at collecting a small amount of information in a broad number of situations, privileging breadth over depth. Therefore, surveys are appropriate in situations where basic knowledge is lacking.
The rationale for this kind of research is precisely the lack of basic information on civic activism in the European Union. This includes both the entire phenomenon of civic activism as well as the attitude and behavior of public institutions and other actors towards citizens’ organizations.
The Survey’s purpose is simply to create a base of general information on public policies on civic activism in Europe. This base can then further enable more focused and in-depth research, along with policy activities aimed at enhancing national and European institutions’ attention to citizens’ organizations.
The cognitive value of the Survey regards more the European trends than the specific national situations. Nevertheless, the results can be considered as a benchmarking tool for national situations.
The Survey was implemented involving 32 partner organizations operating in the 28 New Europe countries and directed by the Active Citizenship Network (ACN) staff; Charlotte Roffiaen, Melody Ross and Giovanni Moro (director of the research). Giulia Savarese cooperated in the data processing.
This report is divided into four main sections. The first contains information on the methodology, structure and implementation process of the research. In the second, the main results, on the general part of the Survey, are reported. The third section is devoted to the results of the focuses on health, consumer and environmental policies. The fourth and final section has a summary of the findings and some conclusive remarks. Some relevant documents are published as appendixes of the report.