The European Commission yesterday proposed its new budget for 2021 to 2027. Under this proposal, the EU external relations budget will comprise a single instrument with a budget of EUR 123 billion.
Under the current financial framework, the EU external relations budget consists of various instruments, each with specific goals and objectives. One of these, the European instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), specifically funds, amongst others, projects undertaken by civil society organisations in third countries that support journalists under threat, promote freedom of expression, freedom of the press and media pluralism.
- The EIDHR is currently the only instrument that can directly support civil society organisations and actors, independent of third country government approval. How will this possibility - and with it EU support to journalists and human rights defenders under threat - be maintained under the new Commission proposal?
- Over the past years, more than 800 journalists were killed worldwide and 300 are currently imprisoned. What specific modalities will be included in the new external relations budget to protect the rights and freedoms of journalists, writers, bloggers and the media?
- The European Council in 2014 adopted Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline. Can the HR/VP provide detailed information about the state of implementation of these guidelines as well as their effectiveness so far?