A financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights in the world

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A financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights in the world

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights in the world


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > Sectoral development policies

A financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights in the world (2007 – 2013)

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide.


This Regulation puts in place a financing instrument aiming to encourage democracy and human rights in non-EU countries, and replaces the previous European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.


The Instrument is aimed in particular at:

  • enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the countries and regions where they are most threatened;
  • supporting civil society in its role of promoting human rights and democracy, its action for the peaceful conciliation of particular interests and its duty of representation and political participation;
  • supporting actions associated with human rights and democracy in areas covered by the Community guidelines;
  • strengthening the international and regional framework in the field of the protection of human rights, justice, the rule of law and the promotion of democracy;
  • building confidence in democratic electoral processes by enhancing their reliability and transparency, in particular through election observation.

To pursue these aims, Community aid is in support of the following actions:

  • promotion of participatory and representative democracy, processes of democratisation, mainly through civil society organisations, in particular: promoting the freedoms of association and assembly, opinion and expression; strengthening the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary; promoting political pluralism and democratic political representation; promoting the equal participation of men and women in social, economic and political life; supporting measures to facilitate the peaceful conciliation of group interests;
  • protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international and regional instruments, mainly through civil society organisations.

To ensure the effectiveness and consistency of assistance, the Commission ensures close coordination between its own activities and those of the Member States. Assistance under this Regulation is also consistent with the Community’s policy on development cooperation and with the European Union’s foreign and security policy as a whole. It is also meant to complement assistance under the Community instruments for external assistance and the Partnership Agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP).

Management and application

Assistance is implemented through:

  • strategy papers, defining the Community’s priorities, the international situation and the activities of the main partners;
  • annual action programmes based on strategy papers and their possible amendments;
  • and special measures which are not provided for in the strategy papers and which may be adopted by the Commission;
  • ad hoc measures so that the Commission can make small grants to human rights defenders responding to urgent protection needs.

The following are eligible for funding under the Regulation:

  • civil society organisations,
  • public- and private-sector non-profit organisations,
  • national, regional and international parliamentary bodies, where the proposed measure cannot be financed under a related Community external assistance instrument,
  • international and regional inter-governmental organisations
  • natural persons, where their help is necessary for achieving the aims of the Regulation establishing the European Instrument for democracy and human rights.

Exceptionally, other bodies or actors may be financed where necessary to achieve the objectives of this Regulation.

Assistance granted under this Regulation may take the following forms:

  • projects and programmes,
  • grants to finance projects submitted by international and regional inter-governmental organisations,
  • small grants to human rights defenders,
  • grants to support operating costs of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC),
  • contributions to international funds,
  • human and material resources for EU election observation missions
  • public contracts.

Participation in calls for tender or granting subsidy contracts is open to, among others, all physical or moral persons from a Member State of the European Union or resident in one of these, in an acceding country, one which is an official candidate, a member of the European Economic Area, a developing country (as specified by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD), and international organisations.

The Commission is assisted by a human rights and democracy committee.

The Commission presents in an annual report the progress made in applying the assistance for businesses measures under this Regulation.

The instrument has been granted a budget of EUR 1.104 million for the period 2007-2013.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006

30.12.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 386 of 29.12.2006


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation and amending Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide [COM(2009) 194 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
It is necessary to improve the proper implementation of programmes and projects funded by the instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights. The Parliament and the Council therefore propose to relax the criteria for eligibility to funding, concerning the costs relating to taxes and duties payable in the beneficiary countries. Tax exemption or tax recovery mechanisms do not exist in all of the States concerned, which constitutes a barrier for participants in the programme.
Codecision procedure: (COD/2009/0060)

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