What we do
Our work is advocacy. We advocate for changes to European policy in light of our vision. To do this, we undertake research, we formulate recommendations in relation to specific policy areas and we communicate with decision-makers in the European Union and Council of Europe institutions. We also publish the findings arising from our research.
We do this in the form of our monthly newsletter Around Europe, briefing papers, and reports. Back issues of Around Europe since 2006 can be accessed by clicking the ‘Around Europe’ under ‘publications, as can the publications archive.
One of our key aims is to enable Quakers and those in sympathy with our values to engage themselves in the political process at European level. To achieve this:
- We maintain an action alert list to alert subscribers to opportunities for quick, simple and targeted action in relation to our current programme areas – to sign up, please contact our office manager Gordon Matthews;
- We arrange our own seminars and conferences, and a Study Tour to learn more about what is happening in Europe. We can assist other groups in arranging study visits on request;
- We accept invitations to attend other Quaker events, with two aims: to speak and facilitate workshops on our own work; and to hear the views of Quakers about European political developments.
We cooperate with other non-governmental and faith organisations which share some of our ideals, so that we can help each other in our efforts to bring about change. Our main partner networks are:
- The European Peacebuilding Liaison Office
- The Human Rights and Democracy Network
- An informal Christian Group on migration
- The Conference of European Churches
Advocacy is an area in which it is notoriously difficult to point to achievements. One organisation – especially one of the size of QCEA – will never be able to claim full credit for a particular policy development. It takes many different contributions to the policy debate to achieve tangible and visible change.
QCEA has, however, made significant contributions over the years; it would be difficult to list all of them here. Below is a very short list of some of the policy developments to which we have contributed in recent years.
- There is an anti-discrimination clause in the Amsterdam Treaty;
- The situation for conscientious objectors to military service in a number of European countries has improved – in some cases significantly;
- The Greek Government had to account to the Council of Europe about the way it treats those doing alternative service and to make changes in the length of alternative service;
- The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a comprehensive list of recommendations on the treatment of women and their children in prisons
- The Instrument for Stability (one of the EU funding mechanisms for development assistance) includes funding for a Peacebuilding Partnership;
- The European External Action Service includes structures for conflict prevention and peacebuilding;
- An attempt by some European Parliamentarians to open up the European Research Framework Programme to military research was halted.