society and politics
Past projects
European Parliament Debate Network
2016–2017
During the past 3 years, there have been serious concerns in Bulgaria about the role of propaganda in both traditional and social media in undermining citizens' confidence in European Union (EU) institutions and reducing political participation. Another problem, typical for the entire EU, is the rise of extreme political groups that radicalize EU political and social discourse.

The project aims to engage society with the role of the European Parliament (EP) and restore confidence in EU institutions by creating a large network for discussions on EU legislation, the nature of the EP and its role and EP activities on important social topics. This will be done through three workshops on EU legislation that will cover the ongoing reforms in the Digital Single Market, the Copyright Reform and the Trade Secret Directive; three transnational debates in Poland, Turkey and Bulgaria on the political nature of the EP and its role as a guardian of EU democratic values; and a discussion series on EP activities related to the EU refugee policy, the new skills agenda and the EU efforts against the radicalization of young people. An informal network for exchanging information, contacts and expertise will also be created within the project.

The project is implemented with the support of the European Parliament (EP). The EP is not responsible for the theses, comments and opinions expressed during the events.

Challenges to the Main European Values and the Future of Europe
September 2015 – September 2016
This project was designed to allow for a pan-European comparison of arguments and for cross-participation in debates through Europe-wide discussions on four common topics identified as being crucial to an understanding of the current challenges to key European values.

The topics were: Is solidarity between EU countries fading? Is social solidarity and empathy with the other in crisis in Europe? What are the challenges to freedom of speech in Europe today? Is there an alternative to the growth imperative?

A total of nineteen pan-European debates took place within the project in London, Brussels, Sofia, Warsaw, Bratislava, Barcelona and Berlin in 2015-2016. All of them were live streamed through the website of the Europe-wide network of debating houses Time to Talk, and 15-minute highlights were published there as well. Each of the partners was announcing the live streams through their social media channels, thus stimulating pan-European participation in the dialogue.

The project was funded with the support of the European Union's Europe for Citizens Programme. It was realized by the European Network of Houses for Debate Time to Talk and carried out by seven members of the network: The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate, Sofia (GCH Foundation, lead partner), CCCB, Barcelona, Freiblick, Berlin, and Central Europe Forum, Bratislava.

Download the report summarizing the arguments voiced in the different European contexts on the four issues here.

Download the final report on the project here.
Bulgarian Network for Civil Dialogue
March 2014 – January 2015
What is Bulgarian network for civil dialogue?

Bulgarian Network for Civil Dialoge aims to contribute in the development of the Bulgarian public sphere via creating and developing places for open civil debate. Eight independent cultural organizations from seven Bulgarian cities joined the Network, to accomplish a series of civil debates and discussions. Our goal is to develop the capacity of the organizations to serve as effective places for enlightened/educated?, grounded/justified? and lively public debate, open to a variety of audiences and actors of the civil society. Within the project the organizations will accomplish – each in their respective city – public discussions open for all citizens, where to be discussed important for the local societies topics and heard a variety of stances and voices that are not on the television screens every day, but do important and significant things for the development of their local societies.

The participants in the network

Bulgarian Network for Civil Dialogue at the moment consists:
The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate 'Andrey Nikolov' – Sofia
International Elias Canetti Society – Ruse
VT EVENTS – Veliko Turnovo
The Fabric Accociation – Gabrovo
Bread Houses – Gabrovo
Association of contemporary Art and Culture – Different Vision – Stara Zagora
Creo Culture Fondation – Varna
Open arts Foundation - Plovdiv

All of them are independant cultural organizations, that are well familiar with the context of the local society in which they work, the active individuals in the institutions and the civil society, and also the important problems and interests of the local audiences and adequate methods for involving them in a civil dialogue.

Why is such a network needed?

Bulgarian Network for Civil Dialogue is created as a response to the widespread feeling in many Bulgarian citizens that the public sphere is corrupted and they alone are not presented in the public institutions, without a chance for participation in an open civil debate on the important social and political matters.
The partner organizations regard the open civil debate as a daily, democratic practice that can channel the energy, which the protests in the last two years revealed, in an effort for a real civil dialogue and change.

The network was created as an effort to meet the need of spaces, open for civil, not fully expert debate and discussion, where to be practiced debating on topics of key interest, that serve as inherent "laboratories for civil participation" and that address to the feeling of remoteness from the making of political decisions in some citizens.

The Bulgarian Networks for Civil Dialogue project is funded under the Programme to Support NGOs in Bulgaria by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014.

This document was created with financial support of the Programme to Support NGOs in Bulgaria by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014. The sole responsibility for the content of this document lies with Gulliver Clearing HouseFoundation and under no circumstances can be assumed that this document reflect the views of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014 and the Programme to Support NGOs in Bulgaria.

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