1 June 2023

Proposed EU Directive on foreign interference to be further assessed

At the European Plenary session on 1 June 2023, Commission Vice-President Jourova announced that an impact assessment will be carried out concerning the proposed EU Directive to “prevent covert foreign interference”. Philea welcomes this development as such a measure, if not properly assessed and carefully crafted, could have serious negative consequences for the philanthropy sector and wider civil society.

In mid-February 2022 the European Commission, in the context of the “defence of democracy package”, suggested creating a legal instrument (directive) to introduce “transparency for interest representation services directed or paid from outside the EU”. A call for evidence was opened within an EU consultation, and ran until mid-April 2023. As part of that consultation, a range of actors, including Philea and wider civil society, raised concerns around the hasty approach to addressing covert foreign interference.

Responding to the April consultation, Vice-President Jourova stated today that the European Commission will upgrade the existing assessment plan to a full and proper impact assessment within which the Commission will take more time to consult with stakeholders and collect more information before moving ahead. Vice-President Jourova said these steps will be taken with a view to presenting a balanced, meaningful and effective instrument.

Philea and other key European civil society organisations called on Vice-President Jourova at a meeting on 17 March in Brussels to make a careful assessment before drafting potential measures to “prevent covert foreign interference” in the European Union. This procedural concern was also recalled next to other more material concerns around the policy as such in our contribution to the consultation in April and at a meeting with Commissioner Reynders in May (see Philea’s contribution to the consultation). 

Philea will continue to follow this file closely.

Photo © European Union, 2023


Hanna Surmatz
Head of Policy