A New Fund to Support Rights and Democracy Groups - Support the Idea by Sending Our Email

On 19th April the European Parliament overwhelmingly endorsed the creation of a new fund to support rights and democracy groups in the EU. If the EU doesn't want to see more elected autocracies like Hungary's Fidesz, it will prove essential.

A New Fund to Support Rights and Democracy Groups - Support the Idea by Sending Our Email

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Show Your Support for Free European Civil Society in Europe by sending our letter to European Council President, Donald Tusk!

Dear President Tusk,

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 would like to see the EU do something to build and support human rights defenders in the member states. I call on you to create a new EU fund to support NGOs to promote and protect European values inside EU countries: a European Values Instrument. The size of the European Values Instrument should at least match the amount of funding that the EU gives to non-governmental organisations that promote rights, the rule of law and democracy outside the EU.

Yours,

Why do we need rights and democracy groups?

Everyone wants properly working hospitals, right? And decent schools to educate the next generation? And well-trained police officers to serve our communities? Of course we do. And we also want a government that acts in the public interest and keeps their hands off our freedoms. But for that to happen we also need healthy, well-resourced rights and democracy groups.

What do these groups do?

Human rights defenders call out governments when they break the law. They keep the public informed about how laws and policies can affect them. And they give the people a way of getting organised to speak with one voice on issues that concern them. You're not happy about cuts to your pension or a decision to tear down a forest? You want to join a protest or write to your politicians? You can bet that there's an organisation out there helping people like you get organised and stay informed.

Why are these groups in trouble?

Some governments, like those in Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Romania, are cutting or blocking funding to human rights defenders. In some cases, governments are also drowning activists in bureaucracy and attacking them through smear campaigns. All so they can't do their job of helping the public have its say about how it is governed. Although the problems are more serious in some countries, there are difficulties across the EU. The EU should invest in rights defenders at home, like it does abroad, to protect shared values like the rule of law, democracy and civil liberties.

Why should the EU support them?

At the moment in Europe, human rights defenders just don't have the resources they need to fight abusive governments and stand up for fairness and justice. The EU funds organisations like this outside Europe to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros a year. But there's no EU money to help Europeans protect rights and democracy inside the EU - even though the EU is legally committed to defending these commonly shared values. Instead, organisations rely on money from philanthropists and a few non-EU governments, especially Norway. But this is not enough. The EU has to play its part to keep the flame of democracy burning bright.

OK, this is a good idea, what can I do?

The European Parliament recently endorsed the creation of the European Values Instrument by a large majority. This is a step towards vitcory for Liberties. But before the fund can be created, it also needs approval from the European Commission and the European Council. The European Council is where governments meet to make new laws. So there is still work to do. We've prepared a model email for you on the right of this page that you can send to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. If enough people write to Donald Tusk in support of the European Values Instrument, he can increase the chances of making it happen.