Renew Europe sounds the alarm on the growing threats from anti-rights movements

Author: Caroline Rhawi



PR Anti right movement

The EU is facing increasingly coordinated attacks on its democratic rights, particularly targeting minorities, LGBTIQ+ communities and women's rights, and often with foreign actors pulling the strings in the background to create polarisation and destabilise European democracies.

Their efforts pose significant threats to civil liberties and fundamental rights, having already resulted in the rollback of progressive laws in several EU countries. The abortion bans in Poland, the creation of obstacles to adoption for same-sex couples in Hungary, and the attempts to oppose legal recognition of transgender individuals in Slovakia are recent developments that underscore the urgency of addressing this concerning trend. Only this week, Italian Prime Minister Meloni's plan to use funds from the EU's economic recovery package to grant anti-abortion activists space in abortion clinics passed through the Senate.

In response to these threats, the Renew Europe group adopted a plan of actions this week to fight the subversive movements.

Firstly, Renew Europe seeks to identify and create transparency about actors that are linked to foreign entities trying to interfere in our democratic processes, both in the European Parliament and national parliaments. The group wants all organisations to undergo a thorough check by a transparency register, and to identify which individuals within our own organisations might be linked to anti-rights movements, to prevent human rights violations being fuelled from within our institutions. In cases of violations of parliament’s rules and procedures, concrete measures must be taken.

Secondly, increased funding from the EU and Member States to support civil society organisations that work across the issues, from investigations into the actors, to protect rights, and combat the shrinking space for civil society, is essential. At the same time, enhanced measures are needed to prevent public funds from being used by organisations that engage in anti-rights advocacy.

Along with this, protecting human rights activists is key by providing them a safe haven and subsidising their organisations. Especially where the LGBTQI+ community and women's rights is particularly weakened, it is important that EU delegations work on programs and action points to provide necessary protection. For instance, the EU Protect Defenders Program should be strengthened to enable this.

Finally, Renew Europe is pushing for the Commission to initiate legal infringement proceedings and to enforce mechanisms linking the disbursement of EU funds to respect of EU values while advocating for extending enabling conditions for EU programs whenever abortion restrictions are imposed, for example by including the right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

All these measures together are testimonies of our MEPs unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of equality, dignity, and justice for every EU citizen, which has been one of Renew Europe's main goals in this mandate.

Renew Europe MEP Samira Rafaela (Netherlands), said:

Anti-rights movements and the continuous misuse of EU public funds by anti-democratic actors, linked sometimes to foreign interference is becoming more and more common in our institutions. The attack and crack down against basic liberties starts with the most vulnerable groups and reaches everyone that deviate from their norm. Renew Europe is at the forefront to protect our rights, the rule of law and democracy. We are sending a clear message here; we want to prioritise safeguarding our fundamentals rights and integrity, from free speech to the right for a safe and legal abortion. I am beyond proud of everyone, from my Renew colleagues to staff to make this possible. I also want to thank our multilateral partners for their help and cooperation.”


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