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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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Programs

The following Open Society programs focus on this topic.

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Recent Work

Voices
How Do You Measure Persecution?

Migrants seeking asylum in Europe don’t arrive with tidy suitcases filled with evidence to make their case—yet all too often, that’s what interviewers expect.

Voices
Case Watch: Roma Ruling Advances Antidiscrimination Protections in the European Union

Legal efforts to protect Europe’s Roma minority from racial discrimination have been given a substantial boost by the European Union's top court.

Event
Electric Yerevan: Lessons for Freedom of Assembly and Civic Culture in Armenia

A panel of experts will discuss the culture of protest in Armenia and the legality of the government’s response to the recent demonstrations, as well as questions of governance, rule of law, and human rights.

Voices
Why the Failure of Greece Is a European Problem

A Greek exit from the euro may be weathered by global financial markets, but it would go against the very principles the European Union was founded upon.

Voices
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.

Event
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.

Open Society People

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