Today, the European Commission allocated €6 million to ensure the swift launch of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). The allocation will finance the establishment and initial functioning of the Endowment, which was conceived in the framework of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy. Its aim is to help political parties, non-registered NGOs, trade unions and other social partners in a coherent, concerted effort to promote deep and sustainable democracy as well as respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Announcing the decision, High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said: “I am delighted to see the European Endowment for Democracy becoming a reality, thanks to a truly joined-up effort between the EU institutions and the Member States. The EED sends a concrete signal to our neighbours and beyond, that we are 100% committed to supporting democracy and the values upon which the EU was founded.”
Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, said: "The European Union is recognised in our neighbourhood as an important supporter for all those fighting for Democracy, Human Rights, and the establishment of a pluralistic society. The EED will be an important new actor and I hope that the contribution decided today, together with those of the Member States, will lead to the establishment of an effective, efficient organisation, and a swift start of its operational activities."
The EED will aim to help actors of change and emerging players who face obstacles in access to EU funding. It will offer a rapid and flexible funding mechanism for beneficiaries who are unsupported or insufficiently so, in particular for legal or administrative reasons.
Such actors may include: journalists, bloggers, non-registered NGOs, political movements (including those in exile or from the diaspora), in particular when all of these actors operate in a very uncertain political context. This will be precisely the added value of the EED.
The core activities of the EED will be to allocate financial support to the targeted beneficiaries. This will be funded by voluntary contributions from Member States or other stakeholders, such as private foundations. The €6 million allocated today will also finance conferences, seminars, publications, networking events, training courses and other activities under the EED.
The geographical focus will be initially, although not exclusively, in the European Neighbourhood region.
The EED takes the form of a private law Foundation established in Belgium, which is autonomous from the European Union, governed by its own Statute and governing bodies. As such it is not a European instrument but complements existing EU cooperation instruments. In particular, it will ensure coherence, synergies and value-added with the activities carried out by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Instrument for Stability or the Civil Society Facility.
Source: EU Neighbourhood Info
- Press release
- Štefan Füle website
- EuropeAid website
- Council Conclusions on the European Endowment for Democracy