CONCORD very much welcomes this important and timely Communication ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations’. A lot has changed since the previous Communication on the role of civil society in development was published almost 10 years ago.

Much has changed, both in the way civil society is organised and works and in the way official donors and governments perceive and support civil society action. It is important that these trends are reflected and recognized in the Communication. It is the most constructive official EU document on CSOs that we have seen in many years. We welcome in particular the fact that the document is based on a rights based approach viewing civil society as an asset for any democratic system.

However, CONCORD still has a number of suggestions for improvement for the document and would now like to see this document being translated into concrete and effective terms in the upcoming cooperation instruments and their programming and in the spaces and mechanisms of dialogue to be established at all levels (country, regional, European, global).