EPD welcomes the invitation to provide feedback on the draft EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019). We thank the EEAS and the Chair of COHOM for opening the discussion with Civil and Political Society Organisations (CPSOs) in 2014 and for putting efforts in making it a genuine and open consultation process.
EPD has chosen to contribute to the consultation by elaborating recommendations together with the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP), the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).
EPD, EED, ENoP and International IDEA suggest that the EU take on board the following recommendations.
The new Action Plan should highlight the importance of democracy support by including it as an individual heading.
The new Action Plan should explicitly state what is meant by democracy support, in line with the six principles adopted by the EU in its Council Conclusions on Democracy Support in EU External Relations: a country-specific approach, dialogue and partnership, EU coherence and coordination, mainstreaming, international cooperation, and visibility.
The new Action Plan should highlight key outcomes of the past Action Plan and identify best practices of EU democracy support, including from the democracy support pilot exercise (Democracy Profiles and Action Plans), as well as from the results of related EU instruments and policies. This would allow for the development of an enhanced and coherent approach to effective democracy support in EU external action.
The Action Plan should mention the entire range of stakeholders and partners in EU democracy support, including within the EU. This means recognising the role of governments and public institutions, local authorities, parliaments, political parties and foundations, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), NGOs and other organisations working in democracy support, trade unions, Human Rights Defenders (HRD) and democracy activists.
The Action Plan should include actions aimed at improving the understanding of EU staff of the political realities underlying democratic change. In that sense, EU guidelines for democracy support should be elaborated and appropriate training provided for EU staff in Delegations and at headquarters levels, building on the lessons learned from the democracy support pilot exercise (first and second generation pilot countries).
To download the joint feedback paper, please click here.