Strengthening civil society

Group effort: young people painting a picture
The Swiss enlargement contribution is providing CHF 105 million to finance projects to strengthen civil society, establishing this youth centre in Latvia, for example. © SDC

The Swiss enlargement contribution provides CHF 105 million for financing projects that strengthen civil society. A support fund for non-governmental organisations (NGO fund) that includes 700 small projects is financed in all partner countries, except Malta.

In the Baltic countries, all project funds have already been committed and the first projects completed. The NGO fund particularly supports social and environmental projects that support and strengthen the participation of civil society in the economic and social development of the country. Overall, one in five projects is realised with Swiss involvement. The NGOs benefit from Swiss expert knowledge by involving Swiss partners in projects. At the same time, Swiss organisations can expand their networks and improve their competences thanks to partnerships with organisations in the partner countries. In Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary, there is a partnership fund in addition to the NGO fund. A total of around 150 partnership projects are in the pipeline that support the exchange of knowledge and know-how between Swiss municipalities and institutions and the partner countries.

Results

Results in target area Strengthening civil society. © SECO/SDC

Documents (7)

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The Swiss Enlargement Contribution

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs present an interim balance sheet on the first five years since the approval of the Enlargement Contribution to the new 10 EU-Member States. The projects are to be implemented within another five year period, i.e., by 2017.








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News (16)

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10 years of contribution to the enlarged EU: efforts pay off

Workers installing solar panels in Niepolomice, Poland.

19.06.2017 – Media release

The 10-year implementation period for Switzerland’s enlargement contribution to the 10 central and eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 came to an end on 14 June 2017. Under the contribution, Parliament approved a total of CHF 1 billion to implement 210 projects which have helped reduce economic and social disparities among broad sections of the population living in the EU.


State secretary attends final conference in Czechia

State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch congratulating Pardubice city government representatives.

14.06.2017 – Article

State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch was in Czechia from 2 to 4 May 2017. During her visit she opened the final conference of the Swiss-Czech cooperation programme, which comes to an end in mid-June. She also visited four projects which were supported through Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU.


Cooperation with Croatia takes shape

Apprentices sewing wigs

31.05.2017 – Article

Two and a half years after the Swiss Parliament approved an EU enlargement contribution of CHF 45 million for Croatia, the commitment period is due to expire at the end of May 2017. The two countries have agreed on 12 projects during this time. The cooperation will focus on improving the drinking water supply and waste water treatment, education and research, and demining efforts.


A home for abandoned children in Romania

A young man and a boy eating together in the PeCA children's home.

21.09.2016 – Article

Many Romanian children find themselves in a home – not because they are orphans but for reasons of poverty.  Since the 1990s, members of the Swiss-Romanian association for abandoned children have run a home for abandoned children in the Transylvanian town of Ghimbav. The home offers these children a family environment to grow up in.


Volunteer fire brigade in Romania – civil society involvement

Three people place their hands on top of each together in a  collective gesture of their collaboration.

06.07.2016 – Article

Romanian civil society is working to set up a volunteer fire service. More than five years ago the Romanian Parliament passed a law according to which every municipality in the country should have its own volunteer fire brigade. Unfortunately the municipalities did not have the necessary funds so that in many places the law remained dead letter. For this reason, Romanian civil society, with the support of the Opération Villages Roumains - Suisse association and the Swiss contribution to the enlarged EU, has become involved.


Swiss-Czech partnership for the rights of the child

19.04.2016 – Article

Unfortunately, not all children are lucky enough to grow up in a family that remains intact. In the Czech Republic too, some children and young people live in homes or other institutions. The aim for the future is to accommodate children in foster families. The Swiss-Czech partnership is building awareness in the Czech Republic of children's rights.


Successful completion of the NGO and scholarship funds in Hungary

A woman in a garden

16.11.2015 – Article

On 12 October 2015, a closing event was held for the NGO fund and the scholarship programme in Miskolc in Hungary. In total, 102 small-scale projects have been implemented, benefiting disadvantaged adults and children or promoting a responsible approach to the environment. In addition, 679 schoolchildren from disadvantaged backgrounds have benefited from a scholarship fund.



Federal Council opens consultation on the continuation of the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe

17.12.2014 – Media release
The Federal Council has opened the consultation on the continuation of the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe (Eastern Europe Cooperation Act). The current act is still valid until the end of May 2017. A timely prolongation should enable the seamless continuation of cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The consultation will last until 31 March 2015.


End of commitment period for enlargement contribution to Bulgaria and Romania

A man standing in front of a machine using a remote control.

08.12.2014 – Media release
The commitment period of the enlargement contribution for Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, ended on 7 December. In all, 13 thematic funds and 28 projects totalling CHF 257 million were approved. The Swiss commitment aims to eradicate social and economic disparities in the enlarged European Union (EU).


The President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, meets the Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr George W. Vella

04.11.2014 – Media release
The President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) met the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malta on Tuesday for an official working visit at the Watteville House in Bern. The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of various international and multilateral issues and of the development of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Malta. A memorandum of understanding was signed.


21 partnership projects nearing completion

Cooperation works – Philippe Nendaz with Agata Stwora, head teacher of the Polish special needs school in Łodygowice.

20.08.2014 – Article

In summer 2014 the majority of the 21 Swiss-Polish partnership projects will come to a close. An evaluation of 16 Swiss project partners has concluded that the majority of the projects were carried out successfully and that the exchange of experience and knowledge was enriching for both sides.

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Videos (2)

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Publisher DEZA/SECO

The Swiss contribution in brief

Information on Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU: a brief presentation including project examples.


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Publications (1)

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The Swiss Enlargement Contribution

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs present an interim balance sheet on the first five years since the approval of the Enlargement Contribution to the new 10 EU-Member States. The projects are to be implemented within another five year period, i.e., by 2017.


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