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EU Criticizes Russia For Labeling Brussels-Based Organization 'Undesirable'

The European Union says it rejects Russia's decision earlier this month to designate the Brussels-based European Endowment for Democracy (EED) an "undesirable" organization.

In a statement on March 27, the EU urged the Russian authorities to remove the EED from its list of "undesirable" organizations, saying EED "represents tenets and principles that are also enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights."

The EED is a joint initiative of EU institutions and member states.

On March 11, the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office announced that it had been put on the official registry of "undesirable" organizations, saying its activities "pose a threat to the foundations of Russia’s constitutional system and security."

A 2015 law allows Russian prosecutors to shut down "undesirable" organizations if they are deemed to be a threat to Russia's national interests.

Related legislation requires nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from foreign sources and engage in political activity within Russia to declare themselves "foreign agents."

In its statement the EU called on Russia to "reconsider" the 2015 legislation and remove from the list all international and foreign donor organizations "that have had to terminate their operations aimed at strengthening civil society" in Russia.

"The legislation on 'undesirable' organizations and 'foreign agents' contributes to restricting civil society, independent media, and the rights of political opposition and has a negative impact on the work of civil society in Russia," it said.

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