Foreign interests and transparency standards – Assessing the Prospects for Reforms in the European Union

Research Paper by Thibaut Le Forsonney



The EU needs transparency standards that uncover foreign influence and protect civil society.

On 1 June 2023, Věra Jourová, Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency, announced a delay in the release of the Defence of Democracy package, following responses from European civil society networks. Their concern was particularly directed at a proposed directive on transparency standards for interest representation directed or financed from states outside the EU. The need to address the practices and impact of foreign influence, nevertheless, remains a policy priority for the Commission. However, important gaps in the research, time, and legal foundation for the reform constrain the implementation of any future proposal. This paper aims to inform readers in the EU policy space on ways to bridge these gaps. Therefore, the paper provides an overview of the policy developments and a discussion of academic research on foreign influence. Thereafter, the paper analyses the prospects, and impacts of reforms that protect EU values, citizens’ rights, and civil society.


About the author

Thibaut Le Forsonney is a young professional working at a university network in Brussels. Thibaut has previously held the position of policy analyst, completed a traineeship at the European Parliament in Brussels, and carried out internships at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Manila. Thibaut holds a master’s degree in Politics, Economics and Philosophy from the University of Hamburg.

#EuropeanUnion #ForeignInfluence #Interference #Transparency #Ethics