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Sign our statement against a EU Foreign Agents Registration Act

Civil Society Europe is collecting signatures for a statement on the EU Foreign Interference Law that the European Commission is preparing in the context of the Defence of Democracy Package that will be released end of May.

The statement is for endorsement by National and EU level organisations until Monday 24 April and  will be sent to the President of the European Commission, Mrs Von der Leyen and to the media.

Please sign and disseminate to your members this call for signatures.

In May 2023 the European Commission will propose a new Defence of Democracy Package including welcome proposals to further enhance democratic participation and protect civic space. Yet, some elements of that package threaten to undermine existing and future efforts.

A call for evidence makes the case for a new legal instrument (directive) to introduce common transparency and accountability standards for interest representation services directed or paid for from outside the EU, to contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market, and to protect the EU democratic sphere from covert outside interference. While focusing on transparency and accountability, this proposal appears to mirror so-called foreign influence legislation or Foreign Agents Registration Acts' globally. These laws have significantly curtailed the space for independent civil society and been deployed as a tool to silence critical voices.

On the basis of information available, we therefore call on President Von der Leyen

- not to pursue the proposal for a legal instrument introducing common transparency and accountability standards for interest representation services directed or paid for from outside the EU ;

- to consider a fundamental rights impact assessment ahead of any legislative proposal;

-to ensure an open and structured dialogue with all stakeholders, in particular all proposals or review of legislation affecting civil society must be prepared in close dialogue with civil society.