Support Groups Fighting for Democracy and Freedoms - Send an Email

The European Parliament asked the Commission to create a fund to support human rights groups in the EU. The Commission tabled a proposal that will do very little to help citizens preserve their liberties. Make your voice heard by sending our model email.

Support Groups Fighting for Democracy and Freedoms - Send an Email

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896 signatures of 1,000 goal

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Dear First Vice-President Timmermans,
Dear Commissioner Oettinger,

Democracy cannot survive without strong and healthy organisations fighting to protect civil liberties and the rule of law. These groups are under-funded across the EU. The situation is particularly serious in some countries, like Romania, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Ireland, where governments are making it harder for these organisations to do their job or receive funding. I was happy to learn that the Commission intends to propose a new fund to support human rights defenders in the member states: a Justice, Rights and Values Programme.

I urge you to heed the call of the European Parliament, as the directly elected body of the EU, and create a European Values Instrument in line with their resolution.

  • First, the size of the fund should match what the EU gives to non-governmental organisations that promote rights, the rule of law and democracy outside the EU.
  • Second, the new fund should abolish the current bureaucratic restrictions and burdens that make it difficult or impossible for local and grassroots NGOs to apply for support.
  • Third, the fund should finance NGOs to support rights, the rule of law and democracy in the round, and not be limited to specific pieces of EU law.
  • Fourth, the fund should support NGOs to carry out monitoring, advocacy, watchdog activities and public education and build the capacity of NGOs to promote and protect the EU's fundamental values.

The EU needs to invest in keeping healthy democracies alive.

Yours,

All over Europe, authoritarian populists are on the rise. It is becoming more common for governments to silence criticism by attacking the courts, taking over public media and intimidating rights groups. Democracy cannot survive without strong and healthy organisations fighting to protect civil liberties and the rule of law. These groups are coming under greater pressure as governments remove or block their funding, subject them to smear campaigns and drain their resources by drowning them in bureaucracy. The situation is particularly serious in some countries, like Romania, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Ireland.

Find out more about why we need a freedoms fund

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The EU is negotiating its next seven-year budget. So now is the time for the EU to invest in keeping democracy and freedoms alive in Europe. The European Commission is in charge of creating the spending plan, which will then be agreed on by EU governments and the European Parliament. Liberties has called on the European Commission to create a new freedoms fund to support rights and democracy groups in Europe: the European Values Instrument. Recently, the European Parliament overwhelmingly endorsed our idea and also called on the Commission to create this new fund.

Find out more about why we need a freedoms fund

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The Commission will publish its new spending plans in the coming weeks and has promised more help for rights groups in the form of a 'Justice, Rights and Values' programme. But the Commission has refused to support the European Parliament's suggestion for a European Values Fund. And indications are that the Commission will just make small changes to existing rules, which won't be enough to rescue our democracies from increasing attack. You have until 30th May to send the Commission a message: create the European Values Instrument and save democracy.

Send our email to the European Commission ---›

If you have visited us recently, you may have noticed that we have changed the target of our email campaign. Previously, we were sending the emails to the President of the Council, Donald Tusk. Recently we received new information that the European Commission may ignore the European Parliament's request for the European Values Instrument. So now we are directing our model email at the European Commission.

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*This campaign has been updated to reflect new developments. The previous campaign letter addressed European Council President Donald Tusk. Now that the legislative process has moved to the European Commission, the campaign letter is addressed to European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger.