Organisations jointly and through transparency to decreased politicization

4 Apr 2019

„There is a decreasing trend in public trust in CSOs since 2013, although the public trust in the other stakeholders in the society also decreases. It is interesting that the civil society sector enjoys higher public trust than the political parties. On the other hand, the dominant attitude of the citizens is that political parties misuse CSOs when they have an interest, and when they do not, they blame CSOs as close to the other side. Hence we wanted to raise the issue of CSOs’ cooperation with the political parties and how citizens view that“, said in her introductory speech Emina Nuredinoska from the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation at today’s (21.02.2019) debate, “Politically active but nonpartisan CSOs, acting for the public benefit“.

Gordan Georgiev, university professor, spoke about the relations between political parties and CSOs, as well as about the successful revitalization of CSOs after the Colourful Revolution. He expects that in the future the size of the political parties will decrease, that they will become more mobile, less clientelism, as a result of the EU accession. He also noted that it is necessary for the Parliament to have the role of agora or the main scene where CSOs would debate with political parties in order to avoid their labelling that could occur if such debating took place in the political party headquarters.

Katerina Hadzi-Miceva Evans, from the European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law, conveyed the EU practices, where it is left to the countries to regulate these issues, and most often restrictions are related to the funding of political parties by CSOs. A factor that can affect the limitations of CSOs in carrying out political activities in some of the countries is whether the organisation has the status of public benefit organisation for which there are more restrictions in carrying out political activities.

Her opinion is that political activities for CSOs should be permitted, including influence during elections, but it is the most important for the organisations to be transparent about the motive – or why they are engaging in such cooperation, what are their expectations for the community that they represent as a result of their activities with the political parties. It is harder to be labelled and it is easier to defend their legitimacy when they are transparent.

Irena Ivanova from the EU Delegation, spoke about the unifying of CSOs’ interests and speaking with one voice, because politicization is easier in a fragmented society. “The solution to the problem is what is happening to us now. Perhaps it is not with the dynamics that we want and it is not with the results that we expect, but I see an increasing awareness of CSOs that they are the proactive part of the society that needs to move the boundaries and modernize our society”, she added.

Video from the debate

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