Thierry Mariani, a French MEP from the far-right National Union party, has joined the board of directors of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). The organization calls its mission to support democratic activists, political prisoners, and promote human rights in the EU and the Middle East.
The European Endowment for Democracy is based in Brussels and was established by the European Union in 2013. The Council of the Organization consists of 43 members: representatives of 27 EU member states, Great Britain, Norway, the European External Action Service, a representative of the European Commission, nine members of the European Parliament, and three elected members of European civil society. The board of directors, which consists of nine people, is responsible in particular for the development of the organization.
As the French edition of Mediapart reminded, Mariani is known for his active pro-Russian position, uncoordinated trips to the Russian-occupied Crimea, meeting with Bashar al-Assad and ambiguous statements about the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Journalists reported that a number of MEPs opposed Mariani’s appointment. They note that the Frenchman will not influence the work of the fund, but the issue of access to information will become sensitive.
It is significant that in Russia the European Endowment for Democracy is recognized as an undesirable non-profit organization.
Mariani himself calls his appointment “logical” and said he intends to control how European money is spent.
It will be recalled that in January this year, at the invitation of the foundation, former Kremlin political prisoners Edem Bekirov and Roman Sushchenko visited Brussels, where they told European diplomats, parliamentarians and officials their own stories of illegal detention by Russia and also informed them about other Kremlin political prisoners.