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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

Briefing Paper
Rethinking Human Rights in EU External Policies

This paper is a contribution to the review of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy.

Event
Reforms in Ukraine: Milestones for 2016

Experts from the Reanimation Package of Reforms and the EU Support Group for Ukraine take stock of reform efforts in 2015 and examine areas of critical importance for the year ahead.

Voices
Once Refugees Reach Europe, How Much Farther Should They Go?

Onward movement creates formidable challenges for states, asylum seekers, refugees, and the international protection system as a whole.

Event
Association Commitments: What Progress in Reforms in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine

During this conference, several stakeholders will assess the progress made by Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in the implementation of political reform commitments under their EU Association Agreements.

Voices
Long Skeptical of Foreigners, Slovenia Struggles to Navigate the Refugee Crisis

In a country where excluding outsiders is part of the national identity, an influx of refugees is testing hearts and minds.

Voices
Citizens Push Back Against Polish Ruling Party’s Abuse of Power

Since winning last month’s elections, Poland’s conservative PiS party has been consolidating power and shutting down dissent. But a groundswell of grassroots opposition is building fast.

Open Society People

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