We seek to empower Europeans and their civil society organizations to reinforce and reclaim their central role in European democracies.
The Open Society Initiative for Europe aims to contribute to more vibrant and legitimate democracies in the European Union by supporting the activists and civil society organizations confronting Europe’s many challenges.

Open Society Initiative for Europe

In a time of disillusionment and uncertainty, the Open Society Initiative for Europe endeavors to strengthen the rights, voice, and democratic power of society’s least privileged groups, and thus make democracy work better for all in Europe. We support organizations that channel active participation in democracy by majorities and minorities alike, and that uphold open society values, particularly in places where the rollback of civil and political rights is most severe.

Migration and Inclusion

We work to reorient the social and political debate on migration towards policies that respect rights, promote solidarity, integrate new arrivals, and unlock the potential for growth. We support initiatives that strengthen the protection of migrants and the politics of inclusion, giving the leading role and voice in advocating policies and social change to migrants and refugees, their descendants, and their allies in civil society.

Reengaging Citizens

By supporting initiatives inclusive of groups and individuals that feel disenfranchised, excluded, or disillusioned with institutional practices and policy debates, we aim to counter the slow hollowing out of European democracies, and to narrow the gap between elites and the rest of society. We support community organization to reclaim local public spheres in Central Europe, and push policy research and debates to include open society issues and voices. We also support initiatives for innovation in institutional democracy to make it more responsive, transparent, inclusive, and accountable.

Ensuring Accountability

In the European Union, which has the most complex system of multilevel governance in the world, political accountability suffers. The Open Society Initiative for Europe supports the vibrant field of pan-European and pro-European organizations, campaigns, movements, and activists working to hold EU institutions to account. We also support civil society initiatives that expose, disrupt, and effectively combat state and regulatory capture.

Countering Discrimination

Since its creation, the Open Society Initiative for Europe has made a substantial investment in understanding discrimination and exclusion. We now focus our support on fields in which funding is scarcest. This includes discrimination against Muslims and Roma, as well as other forms of ethnic and religious discrimination. We also support activities that counter intersecting discriminations, where marginalization on ethnic grounds intersects with that based on gender, sexual orientation, or other factors.

Protecting Individuals against the Abuse of State Power

We support groups that defend civil liberties in European countries. We work with these groups, but also in collaboration with reformers within public administration, law enforcement, and politics, on initiatives that address areas where the quest for security impinges negatively upon human rights. The main aim is to monitor and counter excesses and bad practice in issues such as surveillance, stop and search, profiling, and counterterrorism. We also fund groups working to protect whistleblowers and citizens who expose human rights violations and other abuses of power by governmental agencies.