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European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

Profile

Country/TerritoryEuropean Union

Activity

  • Website: https://democracyendowment.eu/
  • Established as an EU policy objective in 2011; began operations in 2013.
  • Aims to “support political and civic actors striving for democratic change in the European Neighbourhood.”
  • Describes itself as a “joint effort of the Member States and European Union Institution,” but claims to remain “an independent private law foundation with its seat in Brussels.” EED, however, is financed entirely by the EU and EU member states.
  • EED’s Board of Governors and Executive Committee consist of members of the European Parliament, member state diplomats and politicians, and civil society actors.
  • Juan Jose Escobar, a member of EED’s seven person Executive Committee, currently serves as the Spanish Consul General in Jerusalem (Head of Mission).
  • According to the EU Council declaration, the “Board of Governors shall have oversight over the Endowment’s activities and ensure consistency with EU policies”; “beneficiaries of the Endowment … will be supported in a non-partisan manner”; and its “financing should be transparent.”

Funding

  • From 2013, when it began operations, until February 2016, EED has “funded 247 initiatives.”
  • In contrast to its stated objectives, EED does not publish grant details, amounts, or a consolidated funding database, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • According to its website, EED pledges to “advance and encourage ‘deep and sustainable democracy’ in transition countries and in societies struggling for democratization.” Israel, however, is neither a transition country, nor a society struggling for democratization.
  • EED’s website notes that it is also mandated to “focus on the ‘unsupported’, who are not eligible for EU or other funding.” In sharp contrast, EED has funded highly biased and politicized NGOs including B’Tselem, Grassroots Jerusalem, and Ir Amim, all of which receive substantial EU and other governmental funding.
    • According to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, Ir Amim received NIS 283,500 from EED in 2014.
    • Based on information obtained from Grassroots Jerusalem’s website, NGO Monitor estimates that EED provided approximately $200,000 in 2014.
    • According to media reports, B’Tselem received €30,000 from EED in 2015, but this amount was not disclosed by EED. Funding for B’Tselem was provided for a project titled: “Combating anti-democratic laws aiming to silence the opposition,” which explicitly aimed to lobby against proposed Israeli legislation on NGO transparency.

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