BRUSSELS (Own report) - The EU has created a new foundation to promote subversive forces in countries neighboring the EU. This institution, known as the "European Endowment for Democracy" (EED), disposes of a budget of millions of Euros and is destined to support oppositional circles in countries bordering the EU to the east and south. Officially, its purpose is to "promote democracy," however German government advisors are demanding that, if a rapid overthrow is the objective, the foundation should even risk promoting forces "that will later turn out to be non-democrats." The EED's model is the US foundation "National Endowment for Democracy" (NED), through which, according to voices in Washington, the former subversive activities of the CIA have been continued publicly. Two German European parliamentarians hold central posts in the EED. The executive director, a Polish diplomat, announced that the EED would be active in its targeted regions, if necessary, against the law. The constellation of the personnel indicates clearly that the foundation's first activities will probably be in countries at the eastern borders of the EU, particularly Belarus and Ukraine. Operations are due to begin this summer.
The EED was created on the 2010 initiative of the Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who had stubbornly refused to subordinate his country to the concept of German-European policy, had won the elections in December 2010. Though German diplomats, for example, were saying off the record, that, in fact, Lukashenko had a clear majority of the population in his favor, Berlin and the West continued their campaign for his overthrow. For years, Poland has played a prominent role, therefore Sikorski sought to lead efforts to overthrow the Belarus government. To support the pro-western Belarus opposition and other pro-western forces in that EU-neighboring country, he proposed the creation of an organization that can flexibly operate. In February 2011, the Polish Presidency of the EU Council made the official proposal in Brussels. EU nations - also under the impact of upheavals in the Arab world - approved the creation of the EED in December 2011. January 9, 2013, its creation was officially consummated.
According to its statutes, the EED aims at supporting "pro-democratic tendencies and other pro-democratic actors," social movements and non-government organizations, independent media and above all "emerging leaders." Finances are among its primary means. The initial EED budget has been set at 14 million Euros. The foundation also aims at developing its own on-site activities, not more explicitly described. The EED's concrete support for political parties is not precluded - a flagrant interference in the democratic electoral process of foreign nations. Two German European parliamentarians hold decisive positions in the organization's complicated organigram. Elmar Brok (CDU) directs the Board of Governors, which embeds the EU member countries and European Parliament and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP) has been delegated to the seven-member Executive Committee. Jerzy Pomianowski, former State Secretary in Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is founding director of operations.
Overt, rather than Covert Action
As Pomianowski declared, the EED was conceived along the lines of the "National Endowment for Democracy" (NED). NED's activity in Eastern Europe "before and after the fall of communism" serves as model. At the beginning of the 1990s, the US mainstream press had already clearly assessed the situation, reporting that in the late 1980s, NED was doing "openly, what had once been unspeakably covert" and the job of the CIA - "dispensing money to anti-communist forces behind the Iron Curtain." NED financed civic forums, journals and video centers, and the means flowed openly to partisans of the cause in the name of civil society and democracy. "The CIA's old concept of covert action," which has gotten the agency "into such trouble during the past 40 years," may be "obsolete." Nowadays, "sensible activities to support America's friends abroad are probably best done openly." That includes "political-support operations for pro-democracy activists," which may "be best left to the new network of overt operators."
The Party-Affiliated Foundations
The fact that Germany has been active in this field for a long time - with its party-affiliated foundations and their foreign operations - had initially led to friction in the EED. German foundations sensed competition developing. They complained of wasteful parallel structures. Now, word is out that things can be coordinated, which can be facilitated by the presence of the two German European parliamentarians in EED leadership bodies. Because the EU foundation is turning its attention, for now, only toward the eastern and southern EU bordering countries, only certain German party-affiliated foundations are, for the time being, concerned, for example, those involved in Belarus and Ukraine. The example of the German party-affiliated foundations is, however, an indication that support for opposition forces in neighboring countries, does not have to be limited to democratic forces. Some German foundations, which consider their own dedication to democracy as unquestionable, have, time and again, promoted putschists - for example, in Thailand , in Honduras , or in Paraguay .
Even Against the Law
Statements of the founding director, as well as those by German government advisors, indicate that the EED's will to overthrow governments could supersede that of applying rules of law and democracy. Support for opposition groups, can be furnished, in principle, also where it is perceived as an inimical act, declared Jerzy Pomianowski recently in a radio interview. The foundation "perhaps may not have the formal right to be active everywhere," he announced to the press, "but we can do it."
Last year, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) shed light on the types of groups the EED will seek to promote. According to the SWP, experience shows that often it is only possible over time to discern, if "behind the veil of democratic rhetoric," the opposition groups "also harbor the corresponding values and orientation." If a rapid overthrow is the objective, one will, "inevitably promote forces, that will later turn out to be non-democrats." This risk must be taken, according to SWP. The EED should "consciously and pro-actively" also promote those groups, "whose development is unpredictable."
 see also Der Schleier demokratischer Rhetorik
 Statutes: European Endowment for Democracy
 Does Europe Need an Endowment for Democracy? carnegieeurope.eu 14.01.2013
 Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups; The Washington Post 22.09.1991
 see also Deutschlands Netzwerke im Osten, The Boxer's Punch and Der Schlag des Boxers (II)
 see also A Relaxed and Comfortable Putsch
 see also The Naumann Caucus
 see also Ganz liberal geputscht
 Neue Stiftung soll Demokratie rund um die EU fördern; www.welt.de 11.01.2013
 Solveig Richter, Julia Leininger: Flexible und unbürokratische Demokratieförderung durch die EU? Der Europäische Demokratiefonds zwischen Wunsch und Wirklichkeit, SWP-Aktuell 46, August 2012. See also Der Schleier demokratischer Rhetorik