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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.

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Recent Work

Voices
In the EU, One in Five People in Prison Haven’t Yet Been Found Guilty of Any Crime  

Why are courts using pretrial detention as a first resort rather than a last one?

Voices
Will a Global Compact on Migration Lead to Lasting Change?

An unprecedented UN summit aims to address the migration issue, but real progress will depend on the international community making good on its promises.

Voices
Will Brexit Make Britons Less Healthy?

Pro-Brexit leaders claimed that by leaving the European Union, the UK could shore up the National Health Service. Instead, they may have imperiled it.

Voices
Elevating the Voices of Women and Children in the Refugee Crisis

Instead of finding protection and relief on European soil, refugee women and children have been trapped in makeshift camps—some of which resemble prisons—without access to adequate food, sanitation, water, or safety.

Voices
How UK Politicians Laid the Groundwork for Brexit’s Hate Crime Surge

The wave of race-based crime unleashed by the Brexit vote is the result of societal intolerance cultivated by British leaders for years.

Voices
In Zambia’s Contentious Election, the EU Finds a New Challenge

The election in Zambia—a country with 25 years of peaceful democratic consolidation—is a chance for the EU to show it still has serious clout as a foreign policy actor.

Open Society People

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