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Parliamentary questions
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15 January 2021
Answer given by Mr Reynders
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-005656/2020

The Commission is concerned about the pressure and challenges currently experienced by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the Union. NGOs play a key role in upholding the common values and fundamental rights upon which the EU is founded.

Their significant contribution is also evident in the area of migration and asylum, where civil society organisations provide significant support and a range of services to migrants, asylum applicants, and refugees, including medical care, education, childcare, protection and legal services, as well as social integration activities.

NGOs, often with EU financial assistance, provide a vital lifeline for many people on the Greek islands, and play a crucial role in helping victims of fundamental rights violations, often those most vulnerable ones (especially sick persons, families with children, unaccompanied minors).

Ensuring an enabling, supportive environment for civil society organisations is important for upholding the rule of law and the necessary checks and balances in democratic systems.

As reported in the Greek country chapter of the Rule of Law Report, published on 30 September 2020, the Commission has been closely following legislative developments in Greece regarding migration and asylum, including with regard to the registration obligations imposed on NGOs operating in this area. The Commission will engage with the Greek authorities on the follow-up of these findings.

The Commission is also monitoring the implementation of such legislation and assessing its compatibility with EC law, including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Based on the results of the assessment, the Commission will decide on the appropriate follow-up, in line with its enforcement policy.

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