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Support for Over 60 Initiatives in Defence of Democracy, Equality, and Fundamental Rights

18 April 2023

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Two funds and a training programme under the project “ProEUvaluesBG” will contribute to strengthening the civil society in Bulgaria and its role in upholding European values.

Over 60 initiatives by civil society organisations in defence of democracy, equality, and human rights will be supported within a three-year project, implemented jointly by the Open Society Institute – Sofia, the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation (WCIF), and the international non-governmental association European Citizen Action Service (ECAS). The European Union supports the “ProEUvaluesBG” (ProEUvaluesBG) project through the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme (CERV). It aims to support the civil society in Bulgaria and its role in upholding European values.

“Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the hybrid attacks against the solidarity and unity of citizens and peoples in the EU, the project ProEUvaluesBG will give us the opportunity to support the civil organisations in Bulgaria that are at the forefront of countering disinformation, protecting human rights, and upholding basic European and democratic principles related to the rule of law and accountability of institutions.” 

Georgi Stoychev, Open Society Institute – Sofia Executive Director

“For us, it is important that the support reaches the organisations that work at the local level and are close to the everyday problems of people, including in smaller and remote places. We are convinced that the investment in promoting basic European values will have a long-term effect, both for improving civil activism and for the formation of better skills of the non-governmental sector to defend democracy in all its aspects.” 

Iliana Nikolova, WCIF Executive Director

The project ProEUvaluesBG will provide financial support to civil society organisations that work on topics related to the fundamental European values – human dignity, equality between people, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. The support will be provided through two funds with a total value of 1,600,000 euros.

The “Action” Fund will support initiatives implemented nationally for 800,000 euros, with a maximum financing support per initiative of up to 60,000 euros. The Fund will be managed by the Open Society Institute – Sofia (OSI) and is expected to support approximately 15 civil initiatives.

The “Together” Fund will support local initiatives with a total value of 800,000 euros, with a maximum financing support of up to 20,000 euros per project. The Fund will be managed by the Workshop for Civil Initiatives Foundation (WCIF) and is expected to support over 45 civil initiatives.

The call for proposals for initiatives for both funds was announced on April 12. The project partners plan to hold information days in the six planning regions, starting with the poorest region in the country – the Northwest region.

Opportunities for applying for the competition will be presented on April 18 in Pleven, April 20 in Plovdiv, April 21 in Sofia, April 25 in Veliko Tarnovo, April 26 in Varna, and April 27 in Burgas.

Civil Society representatives can register here:

Applying organisations, as well as those with selected proposals, will have access to various forms of practical knowledge and skills-building, as well as the exchange of experience, including within the training programme “Guide,” implemented by the international non-governmental association “European Citizen Action Service” (ECAS) and its branch in Bulgaria. Within the training programme, the ECAS team will support the conceptual and practical development and implementation of initiatives under both funds, sharing with participating organisations the international experience and effects of civil initiatives implemented in EU member states.

“I believe that the exchange of experience and knowledge transfer between civil society organisations within the EU will contribute to a stronger and more effective civil sector in Bulgaria. We live in a shared space with common values and similar problems. Many of the challenges faced by Bulgarian civil society organisations are also valid for organisations in other countries in the Union. This is an incentive to seek common solutions.” 

Assya Kavrakova, ECAS Executive Director

As part of the ProEUvaluesBG project, an information campaign will be implemented to popularize human dignity, equality between people, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights among different communities in Bulgaria. The project will also create conditions for networking and learning through specially organized meetings to share good practices among supported civil society organisations.

The ProEUvaluesBG project is co-financed by the European Union through the “Citizens, Equality, Rights, and Values” (CERV) Programme for 2,570,299 euros. The financial institution is the European Executive Agency for Education and Culture (EACEA). The organisations implementing the project co-finance it with 285,588 euros. The views and opinions expressed in the publication are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Executive Agency for Education and Culture (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.