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Civil Society Hub for actors addressing populist movements

European democracies have come under increasing pressure by populists over the last decade. Divisive politics have put into question the very foundations of liberal societies, such as plurality, equality, informed public discussions, and the rule of law.

To reinforce initiatives that aim to strengthen liberal democracy and counter populist narratives, ECAS has set up a Civil Society Hub mainly for actors addressing populist movements in their daily work and activities.

In 2020, ECAS carried out research on civic strategies addressing populist movements: “Civic Strategies Addressing Populism – Initiatives to safeguard liberal democracies” in the framework of the DEMOS  (Horizon 2020) project. DEMOS is a research and innovation project studying populism and its impacts on democracy.

A key finding of our research is that project managers in the field knew very little about each other, despite their widespread willingness to connect and share experience and lessons learnt. Spaces and formats for exchanging best practices rarely exist.

The Hub addresses the need of establishing a space for civil society actors in the field to meet, discuss, exchange knowledge and practice and collaborate.

The Hub brings together civil society actors implementing projects that address populist movements and/or safeguard liberal democracy values. The Hub will serve as point of exchange for best practices and is aimed at creating synergies between a diverse set of actors.

It aims to both increase the quality and innovation of projects addressing populist movements across Europe and trigger joint action. Hub members learn from one another and may consider shared knowledge when designing future projects tackling the populist challenge.

In alphabetic order (by organisation represented)

Last update: August 2021

The Hub has regular (online and offline) meetings, which focus on specific topics and cover different aspects of democratic life that are challenged by populist movements.

As the Hub facilitates exchange of experience and good practice, members are encouraged to share their project outcomes and lessons learnt.

In addition, the closed online group is also a way to enables members to interact in-between meetings.

ECAS facilitates and actively moderates the discussion, triggering inputs on relevant topics among the network members.

You can find the 2022 Work Program here.

Are you interested in joining the Civil Society Hub for actors addressing populist movements?

The Hub is open to project managers, researchers and practitioners that are working on initiatives to safeguard liberal democracy and/or address populist movements. This may cover a wide range of activities from participatory activities to trainings, online activation, and research.

If you are interested in joining the Civil Society Hub, please submit your application by using the following form.

  1. Purpose

The Civil Society Hub for actors addressing populist movements provides a space for its members to meet, discuss, exchange knowledge and practice and collaborate.

The Hub brings together civil society actors implementing projects that address populist movements and / or safeguard liberal democracy values. The Hub will serve as point of exchange for best practices and is aimed at creating synergies between a diverse set of actors.

  1. Membership

Only individuals can be a member of the Hub. They may represent an organisation.

All members are listed on the dedicated page on the ECAS website.

New members can apply to join via an online form. Applicants must fulfil the conditions outlined in ‘3.  Membership criteria’.

The application contains:

  1. Name of the applicant and of the organisation represented (if applicable) and contact information;
  2. Declaration that the applicant subscribes to the European values as outlined in Art. 2 of the TEU.
  3. Motivation to join the hub (max. 100 words).
  4. Description of at least one project implemented / currently being implemented (max. 100 words).

The Secretariat will send a justified proposal for a decision (accept / decline) together with the application. Decisions about new members will be taken during plenary meetings with a 2/3 majority of members present or represented.

  1. Membership criteria

Applicants must fulfil the following conditions to be admitted to the Hub:

  • The applicant must be an individual (and may represent an organisation).
  • The applicant must have declared their commitment and support of the European Values as outlined in Article 2 TEU. In case that the applicant is also representing an organisation, the organisation must also support these values.
  • The motivation of the application must be credible, convincing and in line with the purpose of the hub (as outlined in section 1).
  • The described project must be relevant and in line with the purpose of the hub (as outlined in section 1). The description of the project must be sufficiently clear.
  1. Strategic decisions

All decisions taken by the Hub on its strategy, thematic focus or the modus operandi would be taken unanimously. The Secretariat oversees and prepares decisions of the Hub. The Secretariat may provide members with a brief, so that informed decisions can be taken.

  1. Plenary Meetings

Plenary meeting would take place three times a year. Two plenary meetings would take place online. If feasible, one plenary meeting per year should take place offline.

Plenary meetings serve as the central point of exchange for the Hub. Invitations for plenary meetings should be circulated by the Secretariat well in advance.

Every plenary meeting should provide space for a discussion on one specific topic that is related to counter-populism. Experiences, findings, and best practices from members on this topic are aimed to be shared during these discussions.

Individual case study presentations from members may be envisaged during the plenary meetings.

Decisions on the strategy of the Hub or the topics covered would be taken during the plenary meetings.

  1. Online Space

In between the plenary meetings, a closed, safe and moderated online space should serve as a ubiquitous exchange platform for members to share new findings, updates or any kind of relevant initiatives that could be of interest.

The online space can be set up on any platform that the members agree upon.

  1. Secretariat

ECAS should serve as the Secretariat of the Hub.

This Modus Operandi was adopted by the Hub Plenary on 16 November 2021


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