About European Hub

About European Hub

With nationalism and populism on the rise and an increasingly hostile global environment, standards of human rights and democracy in Europe are put to the test.

Photo by © Nico Roicke, 2019
© Nico Roicke, 2019

This development has a detrimental effect on all European citizens, especially when they organise to defend universal values and human rights.

As spaces for civil society actors to act critically are shrinking and undemocratic forces continue to operate across national borders, it is imperative that civil society actors have the best tools available to collaborate on regional and European level. Too often, cooperation has proven difficult, as besides a lack of resources, civil society actors are missing a shared simple platform to turn to for networking, information, and support.

Diverse forms of a European public sphere are necessary in order to create more spaces for discourse, controversy and legitimacy in the long term.

The European Hub offers a digital infrastructure for civil society in which a critical and supportive public sphere can evolve. Single activists or well established organisations can meet and discuss, but also exchange and share their knowledge. European integration processes are not merely taking place in terms of laws or markets but shall be experienced in the everyday practises of organised civil society.

Civic Tech can facilitate the organisation of knowledge and the professionalisation of workflows: that's what we do.

Providing a digital infrastructure does not replace physical connections but enriches the possibilities of accessible encounters. Civic tech tools can boost the power of civil society work but moreover can help connect them among each other. Some organisations seek clever tech tools in order to use them exclusively for their own civic work, others want to experience tech tools in order to cooperate better with others. Both shall be possible on the European Hub.

No production without needs analysis: The European Hub only develops tools whose relevance has actually been identified by civil society actors.

Blindly creating a platform with tools no one asked for is no sustainable strategy. That is why the European Hub always starts with an intensive needs assessment with potential users. Using creative methods, we search for actual demands and the stories behind them. In close cooperation with diverse civil society members we co-develop possible future tools side by side with designers and programmers. And while the tools are finally programmed, testing persons are asked for their feedback. The European Hub is thus created from civil society for civil society.


The Hub aims to be the platform that encourages solidarity, provides access to resources as well as insights on funding opportunities and financial planning, facilitates finding partners and incubating new ideas using civic tech.

We grow a digital platform by connecting, matching, and networking civil society actors across Europe when they need it the most.

We would like to thank all of our partners who have been part of the journey so far. Without their active involvement, the Hub would still be just a seed. With the lessons learned from our prototypes and a growing list of partners, we are excited to continue co-creating the network by providing the tools civil society actors need to fulfil their goals. Come join our project and let us work together to make the Hub a living ecosystem for European civil society!

The story so far

2020 - BERLIN - Meetup

“We are living in a moment of shrinking spaces but we are also living in moments in which resistance is organising itself and progressive forces are reorganising and acting.” This proclamation by Professor Donatella Della Porta captured the spirit of why more than 250 actors working with civil society and civic tech from around Europe met on a brisk Monday evening in Berlin. Gathered at the European Hub for Civic Engagement’s ‘Open Spaces! How Tech Can Empower Civil Society’, they discussed the importance of networks, solidarity, and sustainability, when working on strengthening European civil society with tech. The visual highlight of the evening was the European Hub for Civic Engagement’s presentation of four digital prototypes that address building community, turning ideas into impactful projects, making funding more accessible, and providing resources by matching civic actors across Europe.

2019 - TALLINN - Hackathon

In October 2019, the European Hub for Civic Engagement (EHCE) hosted a hackathon in Tallinn. The participants included civil society representatives, programmers, and designers. This diverse mix of professionals were able to come up with four prototypes for the EHCE’s digital platform, which will be presented at the EHCE’s Agenda Setting Conference in Berlin, 13 January 2020. The hackathon took place over two and a half days and was facilitated by the EHCE’s partner DATA4CHANGE. In the report that follows, the EHCE is happy to present the civic tech actor’s work from the hackathon.

Many issues for the European civil society were identified through the discussions between our participants in Lisbon and Gdansk, as well as by the commissioned report written by the strategic research center Pollytix. These issues were then grouped into four main challenges:


To help mold the challenges into a workable form for the hackathon participants, the EHCE created ‘user stories’; examples of how one of the four challenges could directly affect a civil society organisation. At the hackathon, four groups of civic tech actors (each group corresponding with one of the main challenges) developed prototypes based on the curated user stories.

2019 - GDANSK | LISBON - Kick-Off Workshops

In September 2019, the European Hub for Civic Engagement (EHCE) took its first steps. Das Progressive Zentrum hosted two workshops with an inspiring mix of 42 civil society representatives from 23 European countries, in Gdansk and Lisbon.

Using design thinking elements, the workshops were able to elaborate exactly which features an online platform should provide to further strengthen civic engagement and transnational collaboration. The EHCE has grown through a bottom-up approach by involving civil society actors in the development process, guaranteeing tailor-made solutions for the unique daily working challenges of civil society actors. The workshops also made visible why a network of civil society actors and its Civic-Tech community is an indispensable prerequisite for a collaborating European civil society in an integrated Europe.

The EHCE recognises that digital advances have the potential to interconnect individual civic engagement and thereby strengthen a common European civil society. However, this has proven to be a challenge: the workshop attendees pointed to the lack of efficient digital tools and of digital know-how as aspects that need improvement. Although digitalisation has the potential to empower, participants reported that due to budget restraints many organisations cannot afford the development of user-friendly tools with a thought through outreach. This report expands on the three main challenges civil society is currently facing in Europe and how the EHCE can build a digital platform to empower civil society actors.

EHCE Brochure 2020

Connect to Inspire. Organise for Impact.

Infrastructure for Civil Society

The Hub strengthens civil society actors across Europe by providing tools to create community, share ideas and resources, find and access funding opportunities.

    Infrastructure for Civil Society