(Brussels) The space for civil society participation is shrinking. This remark comes from Brussels where, a few days ago, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) held a meeting with NGOs representatives and faith-based actors involved in the provision of basic services in various areas (healthcare, education, development, promotion of democracy, good governance and the rule of law) to share “experiences concerning shrinking space”, a statement released today by the COMECE Secretariat reads. The analysis is confirmed by the European Parliament’s report of last April and by data from the International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law according to which “120 restrictive laws were adopted in 60 countries between 2012 and 2015”: travel bans, arbitrary refusals of registrations or restrictions on funding from abroad, as well as actors stigmatised as “foreign agents” or falsely accused of performing anti-state and terrorist activities. “Civil society actors and policy-makers need to work together to counter the phenomenon” with “evidence-based research in order to obtain reliable data” and to encourage “diplomatic channels and human rights dialogues” – this is the invitation that comes from the COMECE meeting. COMECE welcomes last week’s vote in the EU Parliament’s Development Committee on a draft report on addressing the problem.