Civil society organisations concerned over a draft EU directive that could undermine their work

Open Letter
Guillaume Périgois via Unsplash

3 May 2023. FIDH and 229 civil society organisations from across Europe express concern about a draft EU directive which would introduce registration requirements for NGOs receiving foreign funding. The directive, which is part of the European Commission’s upcoming Defence of Democracy Package, could have unintended negative consequences for NGOs. It could hinder their capacity to fulfil their role as democracy and human rights watchdogs in Europe and beyond and would limit EU capacity to support civil society and human rights defenders. By introducing an obligation to disclose non-EU funding and creating a register for organisations receiving such funding, the proposal echoes ‘foreign influence legislation’, used by non-democratic States to narrow civic space and silence criticism. FIDH strongly supports civil society’s fundamental role in upholding democracy and human rights globally and, while in favour of enhanced transparency and accountability standards, recalls the importance of preserving its space and alerts against initiatives that could undermine its work.

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