The European Citizen's House

    Discover the latest developments at ECH website

June – July 2011

Within the framework of the Carrousel Project, implemented by ECAS, citizens and civil society organisations in Bulgaria, Poland, France and Hungary debated during panel discussions how best to set up national contact points for the European Civil Society House (ECSH) covering both CSO and citizens’ needs in Europe and finding the right balance between ECSH’ on-line and physical services. The prototype of the virtual ECSH was presented to the participants during the national panels and they had the chance to give feedback on the functionalities of the website, all of which was integrated in its final design. The virtual European Civil Society House was publicly launched on the 2nd of September during the Final Event of the Carrousel Project. 
For more information about the project, please visit our page on the Carrousel Project.  


April 2011

An updated version of the briefing was published at the end of April 2011. The 60-pages document was meant to analyse in detail the preliminary work done for the set-up of the European Civil Society House, the development of the current situation and to indicate the following steps which were going to be undertaken. The updated results of the survey concerning the creation of the ECSH were also incorporated into this publication. 
This paper presents in a short format the main features and the technical requirements of the Virtual House which will be built during the second half of 2011. 
Creating a European Civil Society House 

November 2010

Launch of

In cooperation with ZN,  ECAS launched, an online social platform where citizens and CSOs alike were able to  monitor the progress of the ECSH as well as contribute to its development through debate and their own initiative. 




September 2010 


Launch of the by ZN and the ECSH Business Plan by Deloitte. Mapping exercise by ZN.
ECAS went to Strasbourg at the beginning of September to promote the European Civil Society House.  With the help of ZN, we launched a mock up of the Virtual House and with the help of Deloitte, we presented our business plan. 
We will be continuing to lobby to the budget committee to help get the support we need in order to make this project into a reality.  You can support us by writing to an MEP in your country.
Please visit to watch our video and post comments.

Click here to download the Extended Briefing Note on the ECSH pdf_button.png

Click here to download the summary of the Extended Briefing Note

Click here to download the newspaper on the ECSH 



Margot Clifford: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or +32 2 548 04 96

Tony Venables: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or +32 2 548 98 26





July 2010 



A brief proposal contributed by ECAS to the University of Szeged on creating a European Civil Society House for future Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies of the EU.

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June 2010 


ECAS held a meeting on 2 June 2010 about the creation of a European Civil SocietyHouse (ECSH) at the European Parliament (Altiero SpinelliBuilding, Room 5E1,13.00-14.30). The meeting was chaired by Jean Lambert (the Greens-European FreeAlliance). György Schöpflin (MEP), Stephen Pittam and Di Stubbs (JosephRowntree Charitable Trust) were among the numerous attendants.  They all came to discuss the future of the European Civil Society House.


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 May 2010 


The European Civil Society House (ECSH) project is constantly growing and evolving. Get the latest details on the project as well as some of the preliminary market survey results by reading the new Extended Briefing Note.


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April 2010 



ECAS is currently conducting a market study on the European Civil Society House. We would greatly appreciate if you would take 5 minutes to respond to our survey. If you are not already familiar with the project it may be helpful to read at least one of the background documents (below) before taking the survey.

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Click here for the latest Briefing Note on the European Civil Society House. word icon.png


Maison de la Société Civile Européenne

Dans le cadre de nos recherches concernant la création de la Maison de la Société Civile Européenne, nous avons préparé une enquête très rapide. Nous vous serions vraiment reconnaissants si pouviez prendre 5 petites minutes et lire d'abord le résumé du projet pour ensuite completer le questionnaire) que le lien en bas de page met à votre disposition).

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Cliquez ici pour lire le sommaire sur la proposition de création de la Maison de la Société Civile Européenne en français pdf small icon.png

Press Release: December 7th, 2009


Tony Venables
Margot Clifford
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: +32 2 548 04 96

European Civil Society House: One Step Forward

On December 4th ECAS held the first open meeting for its ambitious European Civil Society House project. The meeting was held at Mundo B [1] in Brussels, an NGO house focused on sustainable development. Frederic Ancion of Ethical properties ltd. presented the facilities of the house, such as “the hive“(where workers share desk space), the common facilities, meeting room and reception area. Other examples were mentioned during the meeting, such as “the Hub” where social entrepreneurs meet to share new ideas and collaborate on various projects.

Tony Venables, ECAS Director, said NGO’s needed to follow in the footsteps of the environmental movement which is further ahead, and create a similar facility for associations in areas in which European activity is more recent such as civil liberties, active citizenship and participatory democracy.

ECAS spent its early years helping to set up new European associations- now the challenge is to bring them together to increase capacity and support by sharing facilities. Ideas and possible models for making the house as much virtual as real, and most importantly accessible from anywhere in the Union, were presented. Participants were enthusiastic about the possibilities and suggested that a virtual house could and should be set up as quickly as possible and realistically even before the actual building is established.

ECAS currently estimates the project will take three years. So far the idea of creating a European Civil Society House has received a reasonable amount of political support. An amendment by Jean Lambert MEP was accepted by the European Parliament’s Committees on constitutional affairs and Budgets during the negotiations for the 2010 budget, but without an amount attached. [2]

It is now up to NGOs to prove there is a need for this project and convince the European Parliament to put money on the new budget line accordingly.

ECAS would encourage a public-private partnership approach, since foundations are also becoming involved in creating a common space.

The meeting was chaired by Monica Frassoni who said: “I think one aspect of this project follows an approach already tried and tested in many association houses. What is original here is the broad approach to civil society and that the help-desks for NGO’s whether virtual or face-to face could also be adapted to individual citizens”.

From her own experience in the European Parliament, Frassoni stressed the need for the provision of sound independent legal advice so that more citizens would present better petitions, complaints or requests to the European Ombudsman and above all see them followed up. It was also a good idea that such a facility for citizens could provide help and support for citizens’ initiatives under the Lisbon Treaty whereby over 1 million people from a significant number of countries could request the Commission to propose legislation.

Participants advised ECAS on the need to situate this project so that it does not overlap with other ways to develop civil society. The house should be a practical facility, not an umbrella body. It should also seek to support the efforts of the EU to reach out to civil society for example through the Economic and Social Committee or the European Parliament’s Agora. 

The next step will be to design a market survey on the basis of the consultation with the participants, which will be launched across the Union and in neighbouring countries with the help of NGOs and Associations in Brussels starting in January 2010.  
[2] More background information on the amendment by Jean Lambert, and about this project in general is available at  


November 2009

European Civil Society House Invitation 

Thank you for attending our first open meeting on the European Civil Society House Project. If you missed the meeting, or just want to learn more about our ECSH project, please download the following documents:

Budget Committee Briefing for ECSH Project

If you are unable to clearly read the above invitation please download it here:

ECSH Invitation - December 4th Meeting

August 2009 

ECAS is back to work with an ambitious proposal which could make a difference: a real and virtual European Civil Society House with helpdesks, sharing of facilities – a mechanism to strengthen the position of the citizen with the EU.

Briefing for the Budget Committee Members (download here  
Briefing for the European Parliament’s committee on constitutional affairs in support of the amendment by Jean Lambert
MEP (download here )

Background briefing on how this is to be set up (download here )

  Proposal for creation of a European Civil Society House:

English version (download here )  
French version (download here )
Italian version (download here )

Related publications in other sources:

Paul Jump, Third Sector, 25 August 2009 (to read whole article click here)

At the meeting on 1 September of the European Parliament’s powerful Committee on Constitutional Affairs the amendment from Jean Lambert was adopted with the support of all the main political groups. A eurosceptic minority was against. To achieve a compromise and support the idea, the MEP’s took out the amount of 350,000 euro on the grounds that NGO’s could come back with a more developed plan and take the lead, whilst the European Parliament could find out more what the new Commission would think of the scheme. The amendment will now go to the Committee on Budgets at the end of September and for a vote in the full Parliament in October. After the second reading it could become an official line in the EU budget by December. It is not unusual for the European Parliament to start an initiative with a pm-or pro memoria in the budget one year-and then add an amount in the following year. ECAS is keen to stress the citizen not just NGO dimension of this imitative and is involving the Petitions Committee which we hope will also lend its support. This is a significant step forward and whilst there will be some regrets that MEP’s did not seek to commit funding straight away with a new Parliament and a new Commission their caution is not unreasonable. What counts is the political support for the idea. There is a lot of interest in this project, but we need all the support we can get. If you agree to the general idea, please sign up by sending an e-mail to Tony Venables and we will keep you informed and involved:

Tony Venables



Tel: +32 2 512 08 84

This Project is supported by:


Education and Culture DG - 'Europe for Citizens' Programme
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