The European University Association and Civil Society Europe, a network of EU-level stakeholder organisations, have today published a joint letter addressing worrying and potentially counterproductive elements of a planned proposal for a directive establishing harmonised requirements in the internal market on transparency of interest representation carried out on behalf of third countries.
On 12 December 2023, the European Commission published its Defence of Democracy Package. This is a highly welcome step, as democracy is a key value that must be supported.
However, the idea of a register of entities that are deemed to carry out interest representation for foreign countries because they receive non-EU funding risks being harmful to certain entities. This is the case for universities, which are by their nature globally connected. Such a register could become a tool to delegitimise and control universities and NGOs.
For this reason, EUA and Civil Society Europe call on the European institutions to abandon this particular initiative while retaining other, positive parts of the Defence for Democracy Package.