The signatories of this letter commend the European Commission for the announced initiative on the EU Defence of Democracy Package. Defence of Democracy is crucial in the context of escalating geopolitical turmoil, authoritarian tendencies, and recent attacks on the foundations of democracy.
To ensure that the EU responds to these challenges in the most effective way, we would like to raise some considerations on the objectives and scope of the package.
We call on the European Commission to consider including legislative and/or non-legislative initiatives in the Defence of Democracy Package, aiming at:
- ensuring a strong and vibrant space for civil society;
- engaging citizens and investing in civic education;
- increased cybersecurity in elections;
- ensuring sustainability of news media organisations and their editorial independence;
- fostering voluntary commitments for ethical behaviour by political parties;
- supporting the exchange of practices between authorities of Member States, civil society and academia on new digital threats;
- improving the transparency and oversight of political finance
The signatories would like to offer support in view of developing such initiatives.
The threats to democracy inside and outside Europe are strikingly similar. It is therefore crucial to involve countries outside Europe and to strengthen the link between the internal and external dimension of democracy support. A strategic approach to supporting democracy within the EU must also be coherent with the EU’s democracy support policies abroad. As such, the signatories call for the package to refer to the external dimension, which includes developments in the protection of democracies inside and outside the EU.
Read the full letter here.