By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) - The European Union on Tuesday launched a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) program to support non-governmental organizations outside the EU.
“The (European) Commission has today adopted the Global Europe Civil Society Organisations programme worth €1.5 billion for the period 2021–2027,” the EU executive body announced in a press statement.
The scheme will support civil society organizations in non-EU states independently from the consent of the partner country’s governments in order to promote the rule of law, democracy, and stability across the world.
The funding will mostly focus on associations that are active in the field of youth, women’s rights, workers, and consumer protection, as well as rural, faith-based, environmental, LGBTIQ, and minority organizations.
“Civil society organizations play an essential role in protecting human rights, exposing their violations, and demanding action from governments to protect their citizens,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, explaining that the bloc aims to support the “courageous daily work” of these groups, which are often threatened.
The European Commission will open calls for proposals to use the funds in the coming months.