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European Union

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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.

More on the ideas and programs behind our work: European Union. Hide info

Recent Work

Event
Democratic Deadlock and Security Concerns in DR Congo: Where to Now for the European Union

Institutional and civil society actors will discuss the role of the European Union to support a credible democratic process and help prevent an escalation of violence and abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Explainer
Understanding Migration and Asylum in the European Union

The real crisis around migration is in Europe’s poor response to irregular migrants and asylum seekers, including the EU’s ability to keep people safe and secure.

Event
Which Steps Towards European Policies Against Anti-Gypsyism?

The Open Society Foundations, the German Federal Foreign Office, and the European Commission host a seminar encouraging policymakers to step up efforts combating prejudice against Roma communities.

Report
Montenegro: Elections Aftermath and the European Commission’s 2016 Country Progress Reports

This report discusses the aftermath of the recently held parliamentary elections in Montenegro, the European Commission’s need to focus on rule of law reforms, and the lack of transparency in the EU accession process.

Voices
How We Kept the Internet Open in Europe

When telecom companies launched an assault on net neutrality, a coalition of advocates fought back with an historic response.

Voices
Five Migrants Struggle and Thrive in Italy’s Chaotic Reception System  

A series of short films shows a dysfunctional patchwork of migrant reception centers—and the lives of those forced to navigate it.

Open Society People

heather grabbe
Director, Open Society European Policy Institute
Open Society European Policy Institute

Upcoming Events

Dec
7

Institutional and civil society actors will discuss the role of the European Union to support a credible democratic process and help prevent an escalation of violence and abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.