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Together We Act.
Together We Are Europe


The activities and effectiveness of civil society organizations (CSOs) often remain unseen, and, therefore, not entirely understood by the general public. However, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of the daily diligent and hard work of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians for the strengthening and development of a democratic society in Ukraine. That is why, in the context of the country’s movement towards integration into a single European “family of nations”, the European Union pays significant attention to helping Ukrainian CSOs, especially now, when the country is fighting against the Russian aggressor for the very existence of Ukraine and its democratic European future.

Modern civil society and democracy are inseparable, as it is the democratic order that provides a platform for the free implementation of citizens’ social demands, development of their capacity and meaningful influence on government agencies at various levels and social processes, as well as the right to engage in the adoption, implementation and control of government decisions.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the European Union has stood by Ukraine and provided comprehensive military, humanitarian and financial support, including support for Ukrainian civil society organisations and media.

The European Union also focuses on supporting and developing independent media at all levels – from national to local, because, as aptly defined, they are the watchdogs of democracy and the voice of civil society. Their role as carriers of reliable information is particularly noticeable in the challenging times of hybrid aggression, which is widely waged on the information front.

EU support for Ukrainian civil society organizations during the war

Since the first days of the full-scale Russian war, the EU has indeed undertaken a number of urgent decisions, including by redirecting funding for existing projects to meet Ukraine’s immediate needs, including assistance to civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media, while still maintaining their ability to:

  • protect human rights
  • protect socially vulnerable groups
  • enhance accountability of public authorities
  • promote reforms aimed at integration with the EU.

As noted in her speech at the Kyiv Civil Society Forum in December 2023 by the EU Ambassador to Ukraine, Katarína Mathernová, on 24-25 February 2022, donors allowed Ukrainian NGOs to tap into their grants as they saw fit to defend the country from the aggressor. According to madam Ambassador, “Ukrainian civil society has shown an incredible miracle by quickly adapting to the new conditions and becoming the government’s partner in defending the country. In 2022 the EU provided unprecedented 60 million euros for grants to civil society organisations and media in Ukraine. We have thus tripled our support. During 2022, CSOs in Ukraine awarded around 800 grants to grassroots organisations of all sizes and across various sectors.”

Today, the EU not only continues to provide assistance to CSOs throughout the government-controlled territory, but also expands it. Hundreds of organisations working in the areas of human rights, people with special needs, women, youth, children, LGBT communities, temporarily displaced persons, socially vulnerable groups, gender equality, as well as in the development of environmental, business, agricultural, energy, sports, youth, tourism and other initiatives have already benefited from the EU’s irrevocable assistance.

As of the second quarter of 2024, there are 56 EU grant projects in Ukraine with a total budget over EUR 101 million. Under the existing grant projects, 1887 subgrants are managed. The vast majority of subgrants through this facility were received by individual activists (1277) and local CSOs (269). On average, the smallest EU grant amount is EUR 299 thousand, while the biggest one is EUR 10 million. The leaders in receiving EU grants and related sub-grants are civil society organizations in the Kyiv Oblast (333 projects), as well as Kharkiv (162 projects), Lviv (171 projects), and Sumy (164 projects) oblasts. Donetsk (107 projects), Chernihiv (104 projects), Zakarpattia (89 projects), Mykolaiv (75 projects), and Kherson (33 projects) oblasts are also active in implementing grant projects with EU support.

EU support for independent media during the war

As an integral part of civil society that helps to counteract hostile propaganda, ensure access to relevant and unbiased information, protect human rights, fight corruption, build and strengthen national democratic institutions, the media need comprehensive and strong support.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale aggression, Ukrainian media have suffered heavy losses: due to hostilities, at least 233 of them have ceased operations (mainly from temporarily occupied territories and regions where hostilities are ongoing); 76 journalists have been killed. Unfortunately, there is a steady upward trend in these statistics. Due to mobilization and/or forced emigration, there has been a chronic shortage of qualified media professionals, and there is a lack of technical, financial, and other resources. During the war, the situation with access to information and freedom of speech is deteriorating, as well as the moral and psychological condition of media workers and the safety of their work cause concern.

In the fight against disinformation, raising awareness and media literacy play a significant role. The European Union is well aware of the threat posed by the constant spewing of Russian disinformation. That is why already in March 2022, the EU imposed sanctions on pro-Kremlin disinformation and information manipulation channels, as well as Kremlin assets. The existence of free, independent and professional media that publish true stories generally contributes to the strengthening of democracy and resilience of Ukraine.

As of today, the European Union supports a number of grant projects with a total budget of EUR 28 million, which are being implemented to support Ukrainian media and journalists in the face of current challenges and threats. In particular, these projects provide financial assistance for the functioning of existing Ukrainian media, the safety of journalists, and the fight against disinformation, psychological media operations, manipulations, etc.

That is why the European Union supports mass media and journalists in Ukraine in the face of current challenges and threats. Over the past few years, over 150 media of various levels have received financial assistance from the EU in the amount of more than EUR 15 million. In particular, the EU supports Suspilne, the Ukrainian national broadcaster, and its flagship initiatives in the field of media literacy.

This list is far from being complete. It is regularly updated and supplemented with existing and new EU assistance programmes for Ukraine. In addition, numerous EU-funded projects that have reoriented their activities should be added to it.

The importance of such large-scale and comprehensive support for Ukrainian CSOs and media is difficult to overestimate, since, according to EU Ambassador to Ukraine Katarína Mathernová, “civil society is and will be a reliable partner on the path to Ukraine’s recovery and its move towards the European Union.”

The all-Ukrainian ‘Together We Act!’ communication campaign will include awareness raising, learning and public activities with various interactive features, both online and offline.

To find out more about the communication campaign activities, please follow the news on this website and the EU Delegation to Ukraine’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter/Х pages.

On May 9, Europe Day, the EuroSummit of civil society organisations took place in Kyiv. More than 200 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), experts, activists, and representatives of the authorities, including the government and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s partners from the European Union, joined together to develop a common vector of work in the process of Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

Despite Russia’s ongoing full-scale war against Ukraine, the country is working to rebuild and implement reforms in preparation for EU membership. Ukrainian society demonstrates resilience, vitality, and a strong will for democracy, human rights, and European values. The European Union has supported and will continue to support Ukrainians on this path. Cooperation with civil society remains a key priority for the EU in this regard. The EU in Ukraine works with civil society across all sectors and throughout the country,” said Stefan Schleuning, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

The “Together We Act” communication campaign showcasing the EU’s support for civil society organisations (CSOs) and independent media in Ukraine during the war was presented at the All-Ukrainian meeting “Media Toloka in Kyiv”.

Over 100 bloggers, media professionals, public figures, and politicians gathered at “G.N.R.T.R” Coworking Space in Kyiv for the First All-Ukrainian Media TolokaThe goal of the event was to consolidate the potential of Ukraine’s creative community for the development and rebuilding of the country, facilitate the exchange of experience and information, and find constructive solutions to the problems faced by bloggers and media professionals.

More than 3,000 people attended the TogetherWeActFest, which took place on May 25 at the Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv. Public discussions, workshops, competitions, information displays, and other interesting venues were set up to highlight the importance and role of civil society and independent media, as well as the EU’s support for them.

The tireless will to fight for and defend freedom and democracy in Ukraine is an effort of the whole society. Many people who are actively involved in civil society organisations and the media are an integral part of this process. Against all odds, Ukrainians have shown unprecedented strength and resilience, as well as a deep commitment to European values. The EU appreciates our close partnership with civil society and independent media and will continue to rely on it as Ukraine’s integration into the EU continues”- said Katarína Mathernová, EU Ambassador to Ukraine.

On the occasion of the Journalist’s Day, the Institute of Mass Information and Reporters Without Borders, with the support from the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, held a public discussion ‘Media as a pillar of democracy: shaping the future of Ukraine’ in Kyiv.

Around 200 journalists, experts, civil society activists, government officials, MPs, diplomats and international organisations representatives discussed the role of the media in ensuring Ukraine’s democratic development, respect for rights and freedoms, and instilling democratic principles of thought and action in the country’s citizens. The plenary speeches and panel discussions focused on the challenges faced by the Ukrainian media in times of war and the country’s transformation in the context of recovery and European integration.

Rémi Duflot, Charge d’affaires a.i. at the EU Delegation to Ukraine: “As we congratulate Ukrainian media on their professional holiday, we are well aware of difficult challenges facing journalists in a country at war and reforming at the same time. Since the beginning of the large-scale Russian war, many of them have had to fight or put on a helmet and bulletproof vest with the PRESS label, take over the work of colleagues who went to the battlefront, join volunteering, and restart newsrooms in the de-occupied territories or in places of relocation. Nevertheless, they continue to work with courage and inspiration, remaining committed to the criteria of truth, democracy and freedom of speech, debunking Russian disinformation and propaganda. During this time, Ukraine has risen 18 positions in the Reporters Without Borders index and achieved good results in terms of trust among the world’s media. This is a worthy result of your hard work.

On June 22, #TogetherWeActFest – Khmelnytskiy opened a series of regional public events of the All-Ukrainian Communication Campaign on EU support for civil society and independent media in Ukraine “Together We Act. Together We Are Europe”.

The next regional events will take place in Rivne (June 30), Vinnytsya (July 13), and Cherkasy (July 27).

The three largest grant programmes for civil society are implemented through the following EU initiatives:

  • House of Europe II (the EU’s contribution is EUR 10 million)
  • Supporting the Resiliency of Civil Society Activism in Ukraine (the EU’s contribution is EUR 7.5 million
  • Strengthening Grassroots Democracy in Ukraine (the EU’s contribution is EUR 6.25 million).

The following media-related projects are being implemented in Ukraine thanks to the EU support:

  • Resilient Civil Society and Media respond to the Ukraine War
  • Support to the National Public Broadcaster of Ukraine
  • Support to the Ukraine Media Center
  • Effective local media: digital development for communities engagement
  • Boosting Investigative Journalism in Ukraine
  • Comprehensive awareness-raising campaign on disinformation
  • Support to media through the European Endowment for Democracy

The ‘Together We Act’ communication campaign focuses on EU assistance in four key areas:

  • Support for reforms that bring Ukraine closer to the European Union highlighting projects that have contributed to tangible progress in Ukraine’s adaptation to EU standards and values.
  • Support for CSOs that unite people with common interests highlighting initiatives that have successfully mobilised communities and promoted cooperation between different civil society groups.
  • Support for CSOs that reach out to the most vulnerable groups, including those providing psychological support showcasing successful projects that have provided important assistance to marginalised and vulnerable groups, with a particular focus on mental health and psychological support.
  • Support for independent media as the voice of Ukrainian civil society presenting media initiatives that promote democratic values, counter disinformation and act as watchdogs of the media environment in Ukraine. These media are essential for civic participation and democratic transformation.