Europe and Central Asia
Against the background of the regional upheaval caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Open Society continues to support open and inclusive societies and to invest in those who seek to reinvent and revitalize democracy.
The Brussels office focuses on ensuring that EU policy, laws, and funding uphold human rights and reflect open society values.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 2018, in response to the increasingly oppressive political environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations transferred operations and roughly 100 staff from Budapest to a new regional headquarters in Berlin, Germany.
Skopje, North Macedonia
The Barcelona office is home to the Open Society Initiative for Europe.
The Dnipro office is a satellite of the International Renaissance Foundation.
The Odesa office is a satellite of the International Renaissance Foundation.
The Kharkiv office is a satellite of the International Renaissance Foundation.
The Lviv office is a satellite of the International Renaissance Foundation.
London, United Kingdom
The London office is a base for both regional and global work on issues ranging from education to investigative journalism to economic advancement.
- Tirana, Albania
- Brussels, Belgium
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Tblisi, Georgia
- Berlin, Germany
- Skopje, North Macedonia
- Chisinau, Moldova
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Dnipro, Ukraine
- Odesa, Ukraine
- Kharkiv, Ukraine
- Lviv, Ukraine
- Kyiv, Ukraine
- London, United Kingdom
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
- Pristina, Kosovo
By the Numbers
Expenditures by Year
Open Society-Europe and Central Asia works in a diverse range of countries that encompass some of the most mature democracies in the world as well as aggressive authoritarian regimes.
Building on more than three decades of work in Ukraine, our Europe and Central Asia region is at the forefront of Open Society’s response to the conflict.
In addition to supporting the continuing work of our Ukraine-based International Renaissance Foundation, Open Society has launched the Ukraine Democracy Fund, to support human rights organizations, independent journalists, and other civil society groups in the country. Together with other private foundations and funders, the fund has raised over $45 million since its launch.
With our research and advocacy, Open Society supports efforts by the European Union and likeminded European countries to play a stronger role globally—standing their ground in the face of sharpening conflict between authoritarianism and democracy, as well as uncertainties about Washington’s role in the world. We support European policy groups and think tanks that help policymakers assess their options and envisage new possibilities. Drawing on Open Society’s global network, we also seek to connect the Global South to Brussels and Strasbourg as we seek to engage Europe’s political leaders and legislators with their global responsibilities.
Healthy democracies involve citizens in decisions that affect them at all levels—not just during national elections. In Brussels, Open Society works to ensure that open society values lie at the heart of what the European Union does, both inside and outside EU borders. Across the region, we support civil society initiatives that strengthen citizen engagement in government. Outside the EU, we have worked closely with governments in the Western Balkans and elsewhere to support their efforts to move toward EU membership, while promoting the EU’s role.
Wealth inequality in Europe has increased dramatically across Europe over the past 30 years from Italy to France to Germany to Poland. We support innovation and activism to address a range of key issues affecting how Europeans live, including digital exclusion, the social impacts of climate change, migration, and declining and aging populations.
The free flow of information and the right to privacy are fundamental elements of any open society. Our work in Europe and Central Asia includes supporting independent journalism and media outlets, particularly in countries where media is largely controlled by government interests, together with support for journalists’ right to report freely without threat or harassment. In addition, we support groups working to increase access to internet services and information, together with counterbalancing efforts to protect individual privacy and to ensure accountability of digital platforms.
Since 2015, the Open Society Foundations have increased our support for groups in Europe that work to ensure the safety of newly arrived migrants and refugees, and to ease the challenges of integration.
Our work has included supporting aid efforts by local groups in Greece, Italy, and the Balkans, as well as human rights groups that ensure that migrants and asylum seekers are treated fairly and with dignity.
Our work in Europe and Central Asia builds on the visionary investments of founder George Soros, who opened his first foundation in Communist Hungary in 1984 and expanded his efforts to support democratic development and civil society following the fall of the Soviet Union. Our work across this region is tailored to national contexts but shares a common focus: ensuring that everyone should have a voice in the decisions affecting them, in a society based on the rule of law and grounded in human rights. We have offices in Berlin, Brussels, and London, and national foundations in the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan.
Highlights of Our Work in the Europe and Central Asia
A Global Forcefield of Accountability
Magnitsky sanctions and their like have emerged as powerful tools for fighting corruption and upholding human rights. But some fixes are urgently needed to strengthen their ability to hold kleptocrats accountable.
Fault Lines: Global Perspectives on a World in Crisis
Amid a series of global shocks, a wide ranging survey conducted in 22 countries provides broad insights into people’s attitudes, concerns, and hopes for the future.
Violence Against Women
Q&A: Femicide in Kyrgyzstan
Gender-based violence is widespread and underreported in Kyrgyzstan. A talk with the investigative journalists who are shining a light on femicide, empowering women, and increasing the pressure for change.