European Parliament backs direct funding for NGOs fighting to protect democracy

EU flags and words protect democracy

The European Parliament today backed the creation of a European Values Instrument to support civil society organisations that promote fundamental values such as democracy and the rule of law in the European Union.

S&D Group vice-president responsible for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Josef Weidenholzer said:

“The European Union is founded on the basis of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. Sadly, these things can no longer be taken for granted in all EU member states. In Hungary especially, we have seen a concerted attack by Victor Orbán’s government on non-governmental organisations attempting to uphold these principles. Sadly, this is now occurring in other EU member states as well. Independent civil society is the life and soul of a functioning democracy and the EU has a duty to help support it. The European Parliament today backed the creation of a new financial instrument to support organisations working to protect these founding principles of the EU.

“This new instrument should be included in the next long-term budget of the EU, from 2020. It should receive at least as much funding as the current European instrument for democracy and fundamental rights, which serves a similar purpose for countries outside the EU. It should be managed directly by the European Commission and focus on promoting fundamental values at the local and national level. It is essential that this new instrument is complementary to existing programmes designed to promote and protect these values and should not come at the expense of existing funds in these areas.

“The principles of democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights are worth fighting for. We must do all we can to support those fighting to protect them in all of our member states.”