Recent  years  have  witnessed  increased  challenges  to  the  core  democratic  values  upheld  in  many 
parts  of  the  world,  protest  movements  have  gathered  in  many  countries  to  call  for  greater 
accountability of governments. 


At the same time a number of governments have appeared to regard civil society organisations and 
active  citizens  as  unhelpful  and  have  at  times  suggested  that  the  basic  freedoms  of  association, 
assembly and expression should be limited  in favour of vaguely defined ‘national interests’; in other 
cases there have been direct calls for limits to the right to campaign, which would undermine the 
basic freedoms that lie at the heart of democracy in Europe.


So  we  set  out  to  understand  a  core  issue:   do  civil  society  organisations  feel  that  their  rights  are 
being eroded? 


This survey set out to draw out some initial perceptions of civil society leaders in Europe as part of a 
wider global process to understand and analyse the changes that are taking place in many countries. 
It is intended to highlight some key trends but does not aim to provide a fully comprehensive picture 
of the situation in every country at this stage.

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