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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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Recent Work

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During the wars of the 1990s, Croatia took in half a million displaced people, a memory that still lives on today as Europe’s refugees reach its borders.

What You Need to Know About the Refugee Crisis in Hungary

Inflammatory rhetoric about the refugees in Hungary is distorting a situation that’s not nearly as out of control as portrayed.

Why Europe’s “Roma Decade” Didn’t Lead to Inclusion

The Decade of Roma Inclusion aimed to close the gaps between Roma and the rest of society, but thanks to opportunistic politicians, some of those gaps are wider than ever.

With Upcoming Election, Tanzania Shows the Limits of “Good Enough Governance”

For half a century, Tanzania’s ruling party has clung to power. But a legitimate opposition coalition may mount a significant challenge this October.

Quo Vadis: Ukraine? A Conversation with Two Leading Experts  

Oleksandr Sushko and Balazs Jarabik discuss the state of reforms in Ukraine today.

Refugee Crisis Sparks Biggest Civic Response in Slovakia in Years

In Slovakia, online vitriol directed at the refugees is being drowned out by the chorus of support taking place on the ground.

Open Society People

heather grabbe
Director, Open Society European Policy Institute / Open Society Foundations EU Affairs (currently on sabbatical leave)
Open Society European Policy Institute