16.09.2022 | The European Commission publishes its rule of law recommendations for Member States, including reforms to laws that affect civil society organisations (CSOs)
The European Commission has released its 2022 report into the rule of law in Europe, offering recommendations to individual Member States.
For Germany, the Commission suggests it continues “efforts to provide adequate resources for the justice system,” in addition to introducing a new ‘legislative footprint.’ This initiative would facilitate the “monitoring and tracing” of lobbyists seeking to influence national laws, in a bid to make politics more transparent. Further initiatives to promote transparency include amendments to regulations surrounding the future employment of federal officials outside of government roles, in addition to changes to information on “federal authorities” that the press can access.
Of particular interest to civil society is the proposed green light for adapting “the tax-exempt status for non-profit organisations” in Germany. This aims to improve existing procedures in light of “European standards on funding for civil society organisations.”
Ireland should also “address legal obstacles related to access to funding” for CSOs. Similarly, the Commission calls on Sweden to ensure that its reforms “do not unduly affect civil society engagement.” For Latvia, the Commission proposes that the country facilitate civic participation in local decision-making, whereas Hungary should generally “remove obstacles” that block the work of CSOs. The Commission did not provide examples of these obstacles.
Furthermore, it called on Poland to “Improve the framework in which civil society and the Ombudsperson operate, taking into account European standards on civil society and Ombudsinstitutions.”