Defense of democracy package, including a proposal on the protection of the EU democratic sphere from covert foreign influence

In “A New Push for European Democracy”

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In her State of the Union address on 14 September 2022, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, announced Defense of democracy package, including an initiative on the protection of the EU democratic sphere from covert foreign influence. This commitment was further confirmed in the Commission work programme 2023, published on 18 September 2022.

Unveiling of the proposal for a defense of democracy package was expected on 7 June 2023. Věra Jourová, Commission vice president for values and transparency informed MEPs during the plenary debate that it has been delayed. Commission decided to take more time to consult broadly and gather more information and conduct full impact assessment. 

On 12 December 2023, Commission adopted the communication introducing Defense of Democracy package with the aim to tackle the threat of foreign interference with more transparency, while at the same time encouraging civic engagement and citizens' participation in our democracies.

At the heart of the package is the Proposal for a Directive on Transparency of Interest Representation on behalf of Third Countries. With  this proposal the Commission seeks to contribute to setting standards on how to address foreign influence in a streamlined and proportionate way, fully respecting fundamental rights.

Defense of democracy package also includes two recommendations. 

Recommendation on inclusive and resilient elections, with the objective of strengthening electoral processes in the EU. 

Recommendation on the participation of citizens and civil society organisations in public policy-making, aiming at fostering inclusive participation of citizens and civil society organisations in public policy-making.

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Author: Kristina Grošek, Members' Research Service, legislative-train@europarl.europa.eu

As of 20/01/2024.