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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

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When Roma Children Get a Better Education, Society Benefits

A new report confirms that education is a critical area of intervention for Roma children in Croatia, yet finds glaring gaps in its provision.

Voices
How “Emotional Intelligence” Can Enhance EU Democracy

The EU needs to restore its democratic legitimacy by responding to public apathy and anger with emotional intelligence, and to offer solutions that feel relevant to people outside the Brussels bubble.

Voices
Will the Syriza Party Solve Greece’s Health Care Crisis?

After years of rampant unemployment, nearly one in five Greeks lacks health insurance. Now, access to medicines must be a priority for the new government.

Voices
Why Violence Is Flaring at Europe’s Border Crossings

A spate of fatal incidents at the EU’s southern border crossings reveals an increasingly aggressive approach to stopping migrants at any cost.

Voices
Accountability in Greece Should Not Stop at Elections

Greece has voted in a new anti-austerity leadership. A new website aims to hold those leaders accountable and let the Greek electorate interact with them directly.

Report
Freedom of the Press, Expression, and Information in Spain

This report examines the history of media freedom and freedom of information in Spain.

Open Society People

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