Launch of European Endowment for Democracy should mark the beginning of a new era of EU democracy assistance – PASOS policy brief

January 31, 2013

The long-awaited European Endowment for Democracy (EED) will launch its grant-making activities in the second half of 2013, and has now appointed an Executive Director, Jerzy Pomianowski, who takes up his position in May.

In a new PASOS policy brief, Great Expectations - The launch of the European Endowment for Democracy should mark the beginning of a new era of EU democracy assistance, Věra Řiháčková, Senior Research Fellow, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Czech Republic, outlines the next steps for the Endowment, and proposes a set of recommendations for its operations and grant-making.

Řiháčková, a Member of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee, writes that “the current state of play and the composition of the Executive Committee hold out reasonable hopes for the democracy support community, yet some issues still need to be addressed, such as securing the support of key EU member states. The civil society actors who have been advocating for the emergence of the EED should remain supportive, but also vigilant.”

Her recommendations for new tools to inform smart-granting include:
- introduction of institutional development grants and seed grants, which are not available under existing EU funding mechanism available in the target countries
- a fellowship programme for democracy activists to spend time in Brussels to learn about EU policy and to develop, and participate in, partnerships and networks
- development of a limited and focused policy research agenda to supplement and inform and sharpen its grant-making activities, working with think-tanks not only in the EU but also in the beneficiary countries, and working through existing platforms, networks and umbrella organisations, such as the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, that can pool research resources.
- Turkish NGOs should be made eligible to implement activities and projects in EED target countries in co-operation with local actors, on the same basis as EU-based organisations
- Russia should be included into the list of eligible countries for grant recipients.

The policy brief was produced as part of the PASOS project, Open Government, Deeper Democracy, which was made possible by funding from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Download policy brief: Great Expectations by Věra Řiháčková

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