Non-Governmental Organizations As An Important Instrument Inensuring Stability In European Union


Social scientists and policy-makers are exceedingly concerned with the civil society capability to influence the stability in the European Union and member states. This ability largely depends on the role of non-governmental actors, that are of civil society interests. Aiming to submit the demands that include into the stability of integrated states, non-governmental organizations need appropriate adherence to decision-making institutions. This provision is related to the general, and contentious, issue of the non-governmental organizations engagement in political representation, participation. Regarding the European Union system, some of the other variables should be taken into consideration. The level of engagement of the social parts is the peculiar indicator of the some yardstick of integration from below, and the viabilities between civil society and Government. That is to say that the differentiated structure of the interests provided by the non-governmental organizations, the community-based organizations and the groups, together with increasing demand for greater popular involvement in the civil matters, are forced on the European Union the need to develop a more effective and integrated system with the involvement of non-state actors. Non-governmental organizations, inter alia, submit interests related to development of society. In so doing, non-governmental organizations manage relationships with different sectors through thecivil dialogue. By participating in European official programs, European non-governmental organizations have promoted many initiatives on institutional stability. This became anexcellentbeginning to the increasing non-governmental organizations more active role in European Union stability.

Keywords: Distrust crisisEuropean institutionsEuropean Unionnon-governmental organizationsnon-state actorsthe crisis of mistrust


The international system has been transformed in numerous ways including the multiplicity of non-state actors which at times cooperate with the state and at other times challenge the state. Among the plethora of non-state actors are thousands of non-governmental organizations. Non-governmental organizations have gained importance in international relations and politics. In this article, we will explore the reasons for the growth of non-governmental organizations, the new functions of non-governmental organizations, participation of non-governmental organizations in overcoming the crisis of mistrust in government, the role of non-governmental organizations in ensuring stability in Europe.

The European Union is characterized by instability and uncertainty. More and more European citizens are dubious. Becomes obvious that the European construction faces an unseen distrust crisis. This unseen distrust crisis is amplified by the convergence of two crises: first, the economic and the second, social crisis the European Union is going through since 2008. It is still going on in 2020. It combined with a democratic legitimacy crisis that started in 2005, the year when the European constitution was rejected by the population. Therefore, this double crisis transformed into a distrust crisis.

The European Union must take into consideration the consequences of Brexit, flows of refuges, growing protectionist tendencies in the world. Solution to today problems it's not just about freezing the level of integration and the existing institutional structures, but above all dish countries of choice, feel they need to close integration, or name your own business they want to reduce the level of cooperation. It is considered that the European Union need a deep institutional reform now (Kundera, 2019).

The crisis in Europe is characterized by the growth of non-state actors influencing decision-making and policy implementation in European countries, and also interest in the wide array of social institutions that are working outside the state virtually around the world.

In a significant number of countries, both democratic and non-democratic, because of the functions they perform and the services they offer, non-governmental organizations are involved in the internal affairs of the state. There are many reasons for the growth of non-governmental organizations in Europe. In democratic European countries, the number of non-governmental organizations is quite large and continues to grow. This indicates a developed civil society.

In accordance with Toepler and Salamon (2003), these organizations have long functioned as providers of recreational and cultural activities, education and health and social assistance in both developed and developing societies. But they have grown a need for them over the last few decades because funding and other restrictions have abridged the abilities of the state to deal with its own with the social security, development, and current environmental challenges. In order to rectify the problem citizens have strivedmore directly involved in solving social problems and public affairs.

Even though, the growing importance of civil society, little remains known about non-state actors in solid empirical terms, both in Eastern and Central Europe. As a result, it has been complicate to get serious attention to them, evaluate their ability to take on new responsibilities assigned to them, or define what could be required to improve their performance and role (Toepler & Salamon, 2003).

Problem Statement

The European institutional system is trying to combine the representation of three types of fundamental interests. Representation of citizens, states and Europe.

The European Union has a supranational governance structure, which means it is able to make decisions without the unanimous agreement of national governments. To solve the problem of the criticism concerning democratic deficit, the different European institutions have included non-governmental organizations in the policy making process.

Not every Member State of the European Union is part of the euro or the Schengen areas. It is clear that the possibility of the existence of one government in a diversified Europe is doubtful. It follows that European Union's reality is very complex.

One of the most interesting and presently the most significant causes for the growth of non-governmental organizationsis the number of near failed states in the European Union, and elsewhere in the world.

Obviously, failed states have increased the level of chaos and uncertainty to which non-governmental actors and other institutions have tried to respond. The humanitarian resulting from failed states are defined by the following characteristics: religious or ethnic conflict and human rights abuses; high rates of unemployment and inflation; and massive numbers of internally displaced people and refugees (Alston & Knuckey, 2016).

Indeed, despite cautionary remarks that that an increasing number of monitors raise the issue of bundling or instrumentalization, increased non-governmental organizations participation is still considered the best way to ensure that civil society can influence global governance alongside states and business organizations. It is important to highlight the fact that the more non-governmental organizations participate, the better they have bigger ability to influence to influence the political results of international cooperation.

A similar conclusion was reached by Dany (2014), a greater number of participants such as non-governmental organizations give a greater degree of influence on the political results of international cooperation.

Research Questions

What impact do different non-government actors on theinstitutional integrity in the European Union?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of non-state actors such as non-governmental organizations on maintaining stability in the European Union, given its supranational governance structure. The study also sought explanation as to why non-governmental organizations could be a tool to support the institutional integrity of the European Union. This was not an intervention study andensuring stability in the European countries was not the focus of the study.

Research Methods

The complexity and multidimensionality of the problem have determined the methodological basis of the study, which consisted of the principles of objectivity, multifactoriality and systematicity.

In this paper, an interdisciplinary method of discourse analysis is considered to be the most productive for studying the impact of geopolitical change on European Union's national security as it answers the following questions:

  • how the European institutional system is trying to unite the representation of three types of fundamental interests (representation of citizens, states and Europe);

is there a possibility of retention stability of the European Union; is the problem of a crisis of mistrust relevant in the European Union: while a large number of states vote in large numbers for the so-called protest parties; what is the nature of the internal problems of the European Union and as a conclusion, the inefficiency of the European policies; could non-governmental organizations resist the crisis of mistrust in Europe.

To determine the impact of geopolitical change on European Union's national security, a systematic approach and a component of it were used as a political analysis that made it possible to present a holistic vision of geopolitical challenges for European Union. The comparative method made it possible to collate scenarios of merits and demerits of non-governmental organizations influence on the future geopolitical sustainability of the European Union and identify the most vulnerable from the point of view of geopolitics features. non-governmental organizations have been identified as a tool to counter threats to the national security of the Eurozone that arose as a result of geopolitical changes.


The European Union is a specific type of international organization, that is, nevertheless different from a federal state. It must be noted that the European Union does not make a clear distinction between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. At the same time, its institutions cooperate, share and exercise various powers. This phenomenon contradicts Montesquieu’s theory of separation of powers.

The governance of this two-tier Europe has become complex. The Schengen area is managed by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council, even if not all Member States are part of it but external states, like Iceland, are. The European Union is more integrated than a classic international organization. This suggests that the European Union shares powers rather than divide them and its institutional system tends to adapt to an "à la carte" governance. This suggests that this two-speed balance is dangerous and unstable.

Distrust crisisin the European Union

To date, the distrust crisis is confirmed by the remarkably high electoral scores of Europhobic or sovereignist parties. This distrust started because the European Union does not manage to face the major challenges confronted by Europeans.

Citizens doubt its capacity to take up the great internal and external challenges. This distrust is tangible, on the one side in the Eurobarometer surveys and, on the other side, in the electoral scores of populist parties. The Eurobarometer Special Surveys estimate the trust level of European Union's citizens.

The average, the global number, is uneven. This is due to the fact that, precisely, trust level in the Europe is best maintained in recent Member States. It is surprising. It is also the case in Member States that have not yet adopted the single currency, the euro (Doyle, 2017).

There were elections in the European Parliament, in May 2019. An increasing number of states massively vote for parties that have the following characteristics: so-called protest parties, they often have unfavourable opinions about Islam, very unfavourable opinions about migrants and the European construction. We can also notice that the score of these parties varies from an election to the other. Thus, in Italy, the Netherlands and Finland, they dropped between the last legislative elections in their country and European elections in 2019. However, in other countries, the score of these protest parties skyrocketed in Denmark, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Sweden. Therefore, this distrust can be considered to be equivalent for ancient and recent Member States.

This distrust towards European Union manifests itself through elections and the lasting inclusion of populist parties in politics. The far-right populist parties, often divided among themselves and in minority, do not govern. Results demonstrate that this is not necessarily true. Their influence on governing parties increases. This tendency is perfectly illustrated by the United Kingdomand Hungary. A few far-left parties represented in the European Parliament went from a protest and sovereignist agenda to an agenda maintaining a few populist elements but is, above all, an alternative anti-austerity agenda.

These internal challenges are social andeconomic. Since 2009, the European economy stopped increasing. Unemployment rates have never been this high since the Great Depression during the interwar years. This may be the reason why states that are burdened with debt have great difficulties supporting their populations.

This very damaged social and economic situation is even more worrisome since Europe faces very complicated external challenges. European citizens cast doubt on the ability of the European Union in facing extreme social and economic issues.

It is by now generally accepted that there is also a problem of migration in the European Union as it exacerbates the internal crisis. According to Rais Mehdi, for European leaders, readmission agreements derive their legitimacy from the fact that they are specifically designed to facilitate returns of undesirable aliens to their country of origin in accord with the principle of state sovereignty.

It is interesting to note that, European readmission policy does not distinguish between aliens who are in an unlawful situation whose legal position should be protected, and those who are not (Mehdi, 2016).

Another important point of research is also increasing heterogeneity among European countries which affects stability in Europe. Europe has a handful of large countries: Great Britain Germany, France, Italy, Spain. Since the crumbling of the Iron Curtain, and after the ascension of the country into the European Union, Poland may have entered this category in the general consciousness. Whether Russia should be counted as an integral part of Europe remains an ambiguous matter. These countries have populations of some forty million or upward. In contrast, a considerable number of other European countries are understood to be “small.” These are small and difficult to observe. The largest of the small, the Netherlands, has a population of some seventeen million.

As has been previously reported in the book “Small Countries. Structures and Sensibilities” by Ulf Hannerz and Andre Gingrich, in Europe the contrast between “small” and “large” countries has been a significant factor for a very long time and has hardly become less so during the much shorter history of the European Union. The results confirm that the differences between “small” and “large” countries may be characteristic of the internal crisis in Europe (Hannerz & Gingrich, 2017).

Non-governmental organizations can provide valuable input

With their expertise and representative member base, non-governmental organizations can provide valuable input and help legitimize the decision-making process within the European Union. Non-governmental organizations have played an important role in developing European policy. Since the early 1990's, they have built coalitions with national and regional governments, industry, other interest groups and members of the European parliament as well as the European Commission. Lobbying generally favours big non-governmental organizations with enough resources to provide robust facts and scientifically based evidence in their advocacy work. It is important to highlight the fact that the European Union consults with non-governmental organizations in different ways, for instance through green papers (discussion papers), white papers (official proposals), communications, advisory committees and ad hoc consultations. As has been previously reported, the European commission has allocated more than 1 billion Euros annually in support of non-governmental organization projects and there are over 15,000 lobbyists and 2, 600 special interest groups in Brussels.

In the study, we intentionally draw attention to the practical component of non-governmental organizations. According to Mascarenhas (2017), airlines provided free travel for relief workers. The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo donated thousands of cases of bottled water. Drug makers and medical companies sent shipments of medical supplies and cash donations. Statistics revealed, that Pfizer announced plans to donate $10 million to local and international relief organizations, including Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee, as well as about $25 million of its health-care products to the relief efforts. Bristol-Myers Squibb sent antibiotics and other supplies, in addition to a $100,000 donation through the American Red Cross. Abbott Laboratories’ charitable fund donated supplies, including nutritional supplements, valued at $2 million, as well as an additional $2 million in cash. Merck made a cash donation of $250,000. Johnson & Johnson contributed $2 million in cash and matched employee donations to the Red Cross. General Electric pledged $1 million to the Red Cross’s International Response Fund and $100,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (Wall Street Journal News Roundup 2004). Similar donations poured in from other corporate sectors and governments from around the world, and, within six months, official aid and private donations raised over $13 billion for the victims of natural disaster (Mascarenhas, 2017).

Own observations and special studies in this regard have shown there is no dearth of non-government actors working on consolidating society but, as with most organizations, they also suffer from a number of deficiencies. However, this can also lead to conflicts, and collaboration is particularly difficult among non-governmental organizations pursuing very different campaigning styles and strategies, something which can actually undermine the progress of the campaigning. It is notable that the plethora of non-governmental organizations often leads to unhealthy competition among them, overlapping and duplication of services, and waste.

Nevertheless, there are many reasons for the growth of non-governmental organizations. According to Manuel Castells, four distinct political crises confront democratic states:- Crisis of efficiency: problems cannot be sufficiently managed by governments of European countries, regulation economics; - Crisis ofidentity; - Crisis of legitimacy; - Crisis of equity (Castells, 2005).

What deserves special attention here understanding that is the European Union, as an intergovernmental organization, provides support to non-governmental organizations. In addition to the desire of individual European members to support non-governmental organizations, what has become the European Union has had its own foreign assistance program since the 1960s and began funding non-governmental organizations since the mid-1970s. Other Western democratic states are also an important sponsor of non-governmental organizations. Alternatively, it could simply mean that industrial democratic states have especially funded non-governmental organizations involved in international development and humanitarian crises (Kim & Reimann, 2006).

The research results of Simone Rensch have been very useful to us. Further reason for the proliferation of non-governmental organizations is private foundations. The results show that many private foundations fund non-governmental organizations involved in international development, service, and advocacy. non-governmental organizations based in the United Kingdom could lose out on up to €357m every year from the European Union, according to 2016 figures from Bond, a United Kingdom network for organisations working in international development, if there was a ‘hard Brexit’ (Rensch, 2018).

It is appropriate to pay attention to the list of American private foundations which have contributed billions of dollars to non-governmental organizations: Alton Jones Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Mott Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Gates Foundation, Global Fund for Women, Kellogg Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Packard Foundation.

Focused consideration of the review of the various aspects of theory and practice of non-governmental organizations activities is contained in proceedings Sheila Carapico where a scientific justification is given as an interesting list of factors which have contributed to the dramatic growth of non-governmental organizations. This aspect is be dealt with in more detail in Beyer (2007a).

These factors include such as:

  • Political policies. That is the decisions by governments to suppress opposition political unions, parties, cooperatives and other channels of civic engagement; the greater space given to charitable, religious, and other associations.

Social trends. That is the "effects of urbanization and education, on the one hand, and anomie and detachment from 'roots,' on the other; the intellectual and political aspirations of millions of university graduates; the even higher ambitions of many hundreds of holders of European or American degrees; and the cosmopolitanization of human rights, particularly among urban elites, environmental and feminist concerns.

  • Economics. In the past, international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and other kinds of donors provided grants and loans in support of development programs only to national governments.

  • Politics. Peace-process related funding from the United States, Canada, Europe and other donors is now more available to support civic engagement and education activities in the Middle East, support of democratization efforts.

  • Speaking about the role of non-governmental global organizations in stabilizing the situation in Europe Cornelia Beyer talks about the functions of non-governmental organizations. She states that an important force of non-governmental organizations is their "decisive force" (Beyer, 2007b).

In many cases, non-governmental Organizations seem to have more decision-making power than political influence, because they are more effective in influencing the formation of goals and monitoring, and less significant for actual decision-making, which remains in the competence of state entities. Forms of exertion of decisional power are participation, monitoring, advocacy, lobbying and protest (Beyer, 2007a).

In the opinion of Shamima Ahmed, David Potter non-state actors such as non-governmental organizations participate in public education and Consciousness Raising. Non-governmental organizations become involved in outreach activities in order to educate local, national, or international governments and organizations. For instance, Greenpeace tries to bring to the attention of people environmental abuse by disseminating information through television, radio, and newspaper stories (Ahmed & Potter, 2013).

Non-governmental organizations functions

However, it should be emphasized that one of the important functions of non-governmental organizations influencing stability in Europe is the monitoring of transnational Actors.

Non-governmental organizations monitor the behaviour of governments as well as the behaviour of multinational corporations and intergovernmental organizations in an attempt to ensure that states and organizations comply with laws and international treaties.

In addition, the activities of non-governmental organizations promote transparency in the work of the International Monetary Fund the World Bank.

Consequently, other non-governmental organizations functions are important.

The functions of non-governmental organizations are: create new standards, enhance transparency, provide expertise and information, and diminish the North-South division.

Non-governmental organizations ensure transparency through their activities. Non-governmental organizations often and significantly contribute to transparency. Deserves to be noted quote of Cornelia Beyer. The role of non-governmental organizations for the democratization or re-democratization of international politics or foreign policy decision-making processes, respectively, is seen in the creation of transparency through information and education of the public about these processes (Beyer, 2007b).

Non-governmental organizations needed for the European Union stability

The authors concluded that the European political arena is spread over several levels of government, involves various capacities and a high quantity of actors, and follows very complex procedures, calibrated on single policies. This may explain why, in the long process of European integration, only a few actors have had the strength to impose themselves in the complicated labyrinth of European Union bureaucracy.

As we have argued elsewhere within the European system, humanitarian non-governmental organizations had to face the variable of political integration and suffered the lack of institutionalisation. However, they had been able to develop some practices which, during the years, have revealed their suitability. They have strengthened, at first, dialogue among them, and subsequently with the competent European Union bodies. Moreover, the expertise they are able to provide suit perfectly with the new characteristics necessary to maintain the institutional integration European area.

This is still a complex process involving a certain level of political will, as well as many measures of a technical nature and which, surely, still require many years. It seems to be, however, an irreversible one.


The broad implication of the present research is that the European Community is characterized by the stable and long-term development of civil society.

One of the non-state actors influencing stability in Europe is non-governmental organizations. Nowadays, the crisis in Europe is characterized by the growth of non-state actors. The authors concluded that there are a number of factors affecting the growth of non-governmental organizations, such as: political policies, social trends, economics, politics. That is, not surprisingly there are a high number of non-governmental organizations that are currently operating successfully.

The European Union has a supranational governance structure and due to its complex structure, non-state actors, such as non-governmental organizations, are direct participants in the implementation of the policy. The crisis of mistrust in public authorities gives non-governmental organizations new meaning. Currently, non-governmental organizations take an active role in the human rights andcivic education, advocating anti-corruption awareness, monitoring of political leadership, promoting of public issues, political elections andparticipation, values of understanding and tolerance (Mulalic, 2014).

The present findings confirm that non-governmental organizations make demands, monitor implementation, organize and provide information to citizens about the socio-political life of the country.

In the study of state information policy, Turchenko (2018) notes that non-state actors of information policy, such as non-governmental organizations, are an effective driving force of Ukraine's European integration process. They perform important tasks such as: protection of social, economic, creative and scientific and other interests of citizens; solve issues of social protection of servicemen, conduct information campaigns, raise the image of military service and European development of our state.

It can be concluded that non-governmental organizations are an important tool for supporting stability in Europe. Non-governmental organizations do play a significant role in an era of civil wars, failed states, financial problems, demand of services, and need for someone to represent the interests of those needing assistance and the voiceless. The valuable positive role of non-governmental organizations, though, should not prevent one from critically looking at them.

In summary, with generally positive policy postures towards civic engagement, civil society and the social economy at the European level, non-governmental organizations in the accession countries of Central Europe should see continued improvements in the near to mid-term future.


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Horiacheva, K., Turchenko, Y., & Dzhus, O. (2020). Non-Governmental Organizations As An Important Instrument Inensuring Stability In European Union. In O. D. Shipunova, & D. S. Bylieva (Eds.), Professional Culture of the Specialist of the Future & Communicative Strategies of Information Society, vol 98. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 641-650). European Publisher.