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EU Member States

ECNL and its founder, ICNL have been engaged in Europe, and specifically Central and Eastern Europe for more than 17 years. As a result we contributed to the development of a comprehensive legal reform of CSOs in at least 11 countries of the current EU Members States. ECNL has assisted local stakeholders in the field of framework legislation of CSOs, public benefit status, tax and fiscal environment, CSO-government partnerships, including state financing, social contracting and policy documents for cooperation. ECNL has also supported regional information and experience sharing through organizing various trainings and study visits.

As the civil sector developed and became more engaged a need emerged to review the legal environment and respond to this growing and more sophisticated role of CSOs. In the past few years, we continued to provide support to address the emerging needs. As a regional organization, ECNL has facilitated exchanges among its partners across countries and addressed topics that affect the work of the sector across countries. We have carried out researches and provided comparative expertise on topics such as financial sustainability, accountability and transparency, social entrepreneurship and the influence of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regulations on the civil society sector.

Supporting sustainability of Human Rights and Accountability Watchdog Organizations

The human rights and accountability watchdog (HRAW) NGOs have played a crucial role in developing democracies of the new member states of the European Union and in addressing key human rights issues. However, their longer term sustainability is at stake due to the decrease of foreign funding, which has been their prime resource, but also other factors such as general hesitance to use available government funds, internal capacity to manage grants from the EU and ability and knowledge to rely on local fundraising and alternative resources.

To address this need, ECNL in partnership with the Civil Society Development Foundation (CSDF Hungary), the Center for Philanthropy (CfP Slovakia) and the Political Capital Policy Research & Consulting Institute (PC Hungary) undertook several activities in this area under a project funded by the Open Society Institute Human Rights Initiative.

One result of the project is a comprehensive Study Report on Upholding Sustainability of Voices for Human Rights – A Study on the Sustainability of Human Rights and Accountability Watchdog NGOs in ten new member states (NMS) of the European Union.

We worked with local partners on country level to advance enabling environment issues, including providing expertise, building capacity, undertaking research and monitoring implementation of the legal framework issues such as key CSO legislation, social contracting, social enterprises, economic activities, volunteering, development effectiveness.

Please click for examples of our country work: