LONDON—The Open Society Foundations today named Jordi Vaquer to head the new Open Society Initiative for Europe, set to formally launch in 2013.
The initiative seeks to strengthen alternative ideas of Europe as an open society and stop the rolling back of European values and freedoms which we have seen in recent times. Under the leadership of Vaquer, the Open Society Initiative for Europe will work with a wide range of actors and associations to do so, drawing from business, labor, cultural, youth, political, and academic circles.
Vaquer joins the Open Society Foundations from the Barcelona Center for International Affairs, where he will serve as director until the end of the year. Author and regular contributor to the Spanish newspaper El País, Vaquer has been a leading voice on the future of Europe and has argued for reinvigorating local, national, and transnational democracy in order to arrest the erosion of the fundamental values on which European integration is based.
The ongoing euro crisis and questions over the European Union’s future threaten to undermine the promise of open society in Europe. The new initiative’s long-term goal will be securing an integrated Europe of open societies. Since George Soros opened his first foundation in Hungary in 1984, civil society mobilization has been a key component of the Foundations’ work in Europe and will continue to be a focus of the initiative’s efforts.