In Europe, the term non-governmental organizations (NGOs) covers all non-government organizations that are non-for-profit and are promoting the protection and promotion of fundamental rights and public benefit. The pursuit of NGOs of the objectives of public interest is what differentiates them from 'interest groups' (business organizations, companies and political parties), which exclusively aim for the protection and promotion of specific socioeconomic interests of their members. In general, the term NGO can be attributed to any non-profit organization that is independent from the government.
NGOs have assumed an important role in contemporary societies, that of a mediator between the society and the state. NGOs in this sense form the wider 'civil society' and become actors in the social economy and in regional integration organizations.
Consultation is a modern tool that the public service can utilize to enrich the policy-making process. When Public Services communicate openly and without prejudice with the users of the services, i.e the citizens, the academia, the non-governmental organizations or with the private sector, they have the unique opportunity to enrich their policy options through exposure and discussion of opinions, suggestions and new ideas. This ultimately increases the value of the service offered and the breadth and upgrades the quality of service of the public interest.
Within the framework of the policy of the President of the Republic in promoting participatory Democracy and active citizenship, especially for young people, the Council of Ministers adopted the institution of “Public Consultation Day”. The Office of the Commissioner of Volunteerism and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO΄s), is acting as a coordinator for the organization of the Consultations. The first Public Consultation (PC) took place in December 2013.
The Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development has organized an open PC in June 2014 with 80 participants from the public and the private sector, headed by the Minister of Finance, on “Financial Prospects of the European Union”.
During the PC, the state officials (President of the Republic, Ministers and Chairmen of Boards), consult with civil society (students, organized groups, citizens, social partners, the military, the youth, and so on). PC aims at providing/giving citizens with the opportunity to express their opinions and suggestions on specific issues and measures so that, the state can develop an informed opinion on the policymaking options. This process aims to bring the government closer to the people, since the state cannot be modernized without people΄s participation.
The adoption of the institution of the “Public Consultation Day” is a political decision and makes this day an important advisory tool, through/with which citizens and especially young people, become involved in the modernization of the state.