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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

Voices
Moldova’s Vote to Embrace Europe Puts the EU in the Hot Seat

Now that Moldovans have voted pro-European parties into power, the EU must live up to the country’s expectations—while staying one step ahead of Russia.

Voices
The UK Debate on Europe’s Human Rights Court: An Update

The outcome of the British debate over the European Court of Human Rights will have an impact on rights in the rest of Europe, and the rest of the world.

Voices
Before Embracing Europe, Ukrainians Must Embrace Each Other

A bottom-up approach can bring disparate parts of Ukraine closer together through the common vision of a European future.

Report
Ethnic Origin and Disability Data Collection in Europe: Measuring Inequality—Combating Discrimination

This report makes recommendations for effective change in the field of equality data and the use of data to promote equal treatment.

Voices
Stronger Together: The Case for a European Parliament Intergroup against Racism

A collection of European Parliament members has proposed the creation of a parliamentary intergroup to promote equality and nondiscrimination. Why is such a group needed and how would it shape the Parliament’s views?

Voices
No Equality without Data

A new report on data collection in the EU demonstrates why equality data is central to promoting equal treatment for all.

Open Society People

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