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European Union

The Open Society Foundations work to influence and inform European Union policies to ensure that open society values are at the heart of what the EU does, both inside and outside its borders.

The Open Society Foundations share the values on which the European Union was founded, and seek toensure that the freedoms, rights, and principles that it espouses are put into practice in Europe andelsewhere in the world. We regard many of the EU’s policies, funding and legal instruments as providinga vital infrastructure for the most vulnerable people in Europe, and an enabling environment for vibrantdemocratic pluralism.

For example, the Racial Equality Directive seeks to combat discrimination on the grounds of racial orethnic origin; the Data Protection Directive protects the privacy of individuals and seeks to ensure thatpersonal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose; and theDirective on the Rights, Support and Protection of Victims of Crime seeks to ensure that victims arerecognized, treated with respect and receive proper protection, support and access to justice. EU fundsoffer substantial support to civil society in Europe that can promote the inclusion of marginalizedpeople, and we work to ensure that they achieve these goals in implementation.

In the EU’s 28 member-states, recent political and economic turmoil presents serious challenges for theopen society. Tolerance, accountability and even democratic governance are at risk in parts of the EU.Open Society seeks to prevent the rolling back of democratic values by promoting the application ofuniversal values—including democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law—in EU policies andactions, and also at national and regional levels of government.

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Recent Work

Europe’s Migration Crossing Points Captured in Six Films  

From the English Channel to the airport in Rome, Europe’s crossing points offer migrants hope and hardship.

How to Review the EU’s Eastern Partnership and Neighbourhood Policy: Views from the Ground

As the EU reviews its European Neighbourhood Policy, four experts will assess their countries’ experiences with the policy and assess its contribution to prosperity and democracy.

Civil Society Voices: How the EU Should Engage Its Eastern Neighbours

As EU policymakers prepare for the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, the Open Society European Policy Institute launches a new report about the EU’s role and influence regarding countries in the region.

The Case for an Ambitious EU Policy in Its Eastern Neighbourhood

The Eastern Partnership remains the EU’s most effective foreign policy instrument for creating stability in the countries around it.

Briefing Paper
Civil Society Voices: How the EU Should Engage Its Eastern Neighbours

This paper highlights local concerns and expectations about the European Union’s role in its “eastern neighbourhood” and recommends ways the EU can become more influential in the region.

What Will the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent Mean for Europe?

Swedish scholar-activist Michael McEachrane talks about Europe’s ongoing racial problems, the global effort to fight them, and why reparations can work.

Open Society People

heather grabbe
Director, Open Society European Policy Institute / Open Society Foundations EU Affairs
Open Society European Policy Institute