Background

The Open Society European Policy Institute is the EU policy arm of the Open Society Foundations. We work to foster open societies inside and outside Europe by leveraging the EU’s policies, legislation, funding, and political influence.

The institute brings into EU policy debates evidence, argument, and recommendations drawn from the work of the Open Society Foundations in more than 100 countries. The foundations’ priorities include human rights, justice, and accountability pursued through a wide range of policy areas including health, media, information, youth, and education.

The European Union is capable of effectively promoting democracy, human rights, and conflict management abroad, but this requires a robust approach to defending human rights, civil liberties, and justice at home. The Open Society European Policy Institute’s role is to propose positive measures that will sustain those values within policies and widen the political constituency that supports them. We also work to provide warnings when European political actors are moving away from—or even undermining—the founding principles and fundamental values of the European Union. We pursue both of these roles by doing the following:

  • providing evidence and arguments to inform political debates and policy-making processes;
  • linking the Open Society Foundations network with EU institutions and member states;
  • engaging in the broader debates about the EU’s future institutions and policies, in order to promote open society values within their operations; and
  • building strong relationships with officials, politicians, NGOs, and other actors to keep civil liberties, rights, and justice on the EU’s agenda.

The Open Society European Policy Institute works closely with Open Society foundations and programs to help them expand their own capacity to do successful advocacy directed at the European Union. We assist foundations and grantees with their engagement with policymakers and their participation in formal and informal consultations, from EU human rights dialogues to annual progress reports on enlargement and neighborhood countries.

The Open Society Foundations’ Brussels office was established in 1997 as a policy and advocacy office. For Open Society Foundations’ funding opportunities, please see the grants section of this website.