„We are all responsible for the Europe of today. And we must all take responsibility for the Europe of tomorrow“- that’s how the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker commented recently on the situation of the European Union. But does the current political development in Austria continue to allow this form of cooperation for civil society organisations?
Civicus, a global network of civil society organisations, is also taking a closer look at the current conditions for civil society in Austria. Civicus was found in 1993 and today counts over 4000 members from 175 different states. Various instruments are used to show how national realities affect civil society organisations. The Civicus Monitor is such an instrument that provides reliable data on the situation of each national civil society and communicates it to media and important stakeholders worldwide. Freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are the three columns of the Civic space. On an interactive world map, the Monitor documents all practices and legislative changes that have a negative impact on them. Depending on the events, the individual countries are given a specific rating, which is based on various qualitative and quantitative surveys in order to cover the complex economic and political influences on the scopes of action for civil society.
Austria’s rating stood for a long time on “open”, as the country guaranteed the three columns for civil society organisations. However, since the situation has changed appreciably, Austria, as a small black spot on the world map, is now “under review”. The results of this observation are still unknown, but there is the possibility that there will be a downgrade for Austria’s rating to “narrowed”, as the three columns are increasingly under attacks. With this rating, Austria would be ranked among countries such as Poland, Romania and France.