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European Endowment for Democracy – additional support for democratic change

The Board of Governors of the new European Endowment for Democracy (EED), which aims to support pro-democracy activists in the Neighbourhood, met in Brussels yesterday, co-chaired by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, together with MEP Elmar Brok, chair of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, and with the participation of Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
 
The Board discussed the strategic vision and mandate for the EED and appointed Mr Jerzy Pomianowski, currently State Secretary in the Government of Poland, as the Executive Director of EED.
 
In her opening statement, High Representative Ashton said: “The central idea that motivated the creation of the Endowment is Europe’s commitment to advancing democracy. Not only does this benefit the people who aspire to freedom and who champion democratic transitions worldwide; it is also in our own European interest."
 
She said the Endowment came at a timely moment, "as 2013 will be a crucial year for democratic transitions, in particular in the EU’s neighbourhood. The European Endowment for Democracy can play a very important role. By working directly with those in the field, who are striving for democracy; and by offering flexible, non-bureaucratic and dedicated procedures that are tailored to the needs and demands on the ground.”
 
Commissioner Füle said he was delighted to see the Endowment becoming a reality. "I see the Endowment for Democracy as a strengthened effort, supporting democratisation and peaceful forces that work for democratic changes to happen, supporting the actors of change in our neighbourhood, the emerging players that face obstacles in accessing European Union funding."
 
"With this new initiative we are sending a clear message of solidarity to the peoples of the Neighbourhood, assuring them that their democratic aspirations and their fight for human rights will be heard and supported by the European Union."
 
TheFmain purpose of the EDD is direct grant-making to pro-democracy activists and/or organisations struggling for democratic transition in the European Neighbourhood and beyond, through specific flexible procedures.
 
The EED is a joint political project by the EU and its Members States. Following an agreement by all Member States, the EP and the Commission/EEAS, the EED was established in October 2012 as a private law Foundation under Belgian Law, governed by its own Statute and governing bodies.
 
The EED Board held its first meeting in Brussels in November. In December, the EED signed a €6.2 million grant contract with the European Commission. Several Member States together with Switzerland have pledged up to an additional €8 million for EED activities. Thus, the initial budget for EED will be around €14 million.
 
The EED will have its headquarters in Brussels, and is in the process of completing its setting up process and recruitment of staff. The EED should be operational during the first half of 2013. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
 
Read more
 
Press release
 
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – EU releases €6 million to launch European Endowment for Democracy (12-11-12)
 
EU Support to the European Endowment for Democracy – fiche
 
Council Conclusions on the European Endowment for Democracy
 

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