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For too long we have held preconceived notions of 'the' market and 'the' state that were seemingly independent of local societies and cultures. The debate about civil society ultimately is about how culture, market and state to each other. Concern about civil society, however, is not only relevant to central and eastern Europe and the developing world. It is very much of to the European Union as well. The Civil Dialogue initiated by the Commission in the 1990s was a first attempt by the EU to give the institutions of society-and not only governments and businesses-a voice at the policy-making tables in Brussels. The EU, like other international institutions, has a long way to go in trying to the frequently divergent interests of non-governmental organisations and citizen groups. There is increasing that international and national governments have to open up to civil society institutions.