On 18 January 2000 the Commission approved a Discussion Paper (pdf format)entitled :
"The Commission and non-governmental organisations: building a stronger partnership". The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First of all, it aims to give an overview of the existing relationships between the Commission and NGOs including some current problems. Secondly, it aims to suggest possible ways of developing these relationships by considering the measures needed to improve and strengthen the existing relationship between the Commission and the NGOs. Thus, the Discussion Paper suggests ways of providing a more coherent Commission-wide framework for co-operation that has hitherto been organised on a sector-by-sector basis.
The introduction also attempts to define the common characteristics of a non-governmental organisation and goes on to describe in some detail the rationale of cooperation between the Commission and NGOs.
The proposals for improvement are dealt with in the next four chapters of the Discussion Paper. These are measures to improve dialogue and consultation with NGOs, budgetary issues (in particular core-funding), management issues and improving information.
The Commission regards the Discussion Paper as an important step in a process involving an extensive exchange of view with the NGO community.
To make this consultation easier, the Commission set up this website, which contains the text of the document in all the languages and comments received.