According to the statement, issued yesterday in Brussels after the meetings with Lieberman, the EU said it “recalls the importance of a vibrant NGO sector and civil society in general and the vital role they play in open and democratic societies.”Let's see. The parliamentary investigation into NGOs, which indeed was a bad idea, was killed the day before the EU announcement was made, and this was widely publicized.
The statement also called on Israel to “promote its active NGO sector and to refrain from actions which may significantly curtail its freedoms. In this context, the EU is concerned about the proposed parliamentary inquiry committee to investigate NGO funding and the draft law on recipients of financial support from foreign political entities,” the statement said.
The EU statement touched on another issue Lieberman has focused on: Israel’s attitude toward its Arab citizens.
“The EU encourages Israel to increase efforts to address the economic and social situation of the Arab minority, to enhance their integration in Israeli society and protect their rights,” it read.
The idea that "the active NGO sector in Israel" needs "promoting" is quaint, seeing as there are more than 32,000 NGOs in Israel. (Yup. That's thirty two thousand, in a country with fewer than 8 million people.)
There is indeed need to address the economic and social conditions of Israel's Arab citizens, though their conditions are certainly better than those of the Roma in most European countries, and probably better than that of many of the 2nd generation immigrants, too. There isn't much need to protect their rights, however, as they enjoy the same ones as all Israeli citizens.
There seems to be intense European funding of a very tiny number of Israeli NGOs, many of which have in common that they represent a certain sort of political agenda which the Israeli electorate consistently democratically rejects. It's not clear why democratic Europe can't respect democratic Israel.
Of course, unelected EU bureaucrats in Brussels aren't actually important, but even knowing that no-one much listens to their verbiage, it's regrettable they feel the need to preach to us.