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Forum History

 

The Forum was established by the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe  (Warsaw, May 2005), to strengthen democracy, political freedoms and citizens' participation.

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Forum previous sessions

Forum_Democracy2011

(Limassol, Cyprus, October)

Interdependence of democracy and social cohesion.

New: Proceedings

"Radical measures taken in many countries to try to balance public budgets are both necessary and understandable” but  “Countries are running a high risk of seriously undermining the European model of social cohesion.”  declared Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland while opening the Cyprus Forum.

2010

(Yerevan, October)

Perspectives 2020 Democracy in Europe - Principles and Challenges

Proceedings

 

''The Council of Europe has a unique strategic role to play in strengthening good democratic governance at all levels in the European space''. Democracy, or rather good democratic governance, is now not only intrinsically linked to the respect of human rights but is also recognised as the most effective form of governance to ensure stability, sustainability and well-being.

 That was the main message of the 2010 Forum.

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2009

(Kyiv, October)

Electoral systems: strengthening democracy in the 21st century

(Proceedings)

 "In a genuine democracy, the citizen is sovereign and the voter decides" - that was the main message of the 2009 Forum, which highlighted the need for greater public involvement, with a view to increasing voter turnout and ensuring that all stages of public life are democratic..

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2008

(Madrid, October)

"E-democracy: who dares?"

 

The discussions addressed the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on democracy.

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2007

(Stockholm, June)

"Power and empowerment - The interdependence of democracy and human rights"

 

This event addressed issues such as the role and responsibilities of the opposition, representative democracy at the local and regional level, empowerment of the individual and non-discrimination, respect for freedom of expression and association for civil society, and fostering democracy, human rights and social networks.

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2006

(Moscow, October)

"The role of political parties in the building of democracy"

 

The Forum reflected on  the role and responsibilities of political parties in finding democratic solutions to contemporary challenges, the interaction between political parties and with other actors in the democratic process, and the building and strengthening of democratic institutions.

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Launch meeting (Warsaw, November 2005)

"Citizens' participation"

 

 

The discussions addressed the state of contemporary democracy in Europe.

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Previous projects

("Making

Democratic institutions work")

 

Forum for the Future of Democracy 2010,
Opening Session

Mr Vuk JEREMIĆ,
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Serbia1

I would like to thank our Armenian hosts for their very warm hospitality here in Yerevan. I am very glad to be participating for the second time in the Forum for the Future of Democracy, as I was also at the Forum in Stockholm in 2007 as Chairman in office. Many of you were with us ten years ago when we fought very hard for our democracy so your presence here makes me feel even more at home.

I want to emphasise that this year is a very important year for us; it is the ten-year anniversary of our democratic changes in Serbia. Almost to the day, ten years ago, most of you would remember the dramatic events in Belgrade and a democratic revolution, the first one in a while that has actually worked.

Coming from a political circle, I will try not to be too theoretical or academic; if we are to talk about democracy and what it means and what it brings, I would like to talk about the results: about the transformative power of democracy.

For us in the Balkans, to be succinct, democracy has meant peace. How did it come about? We can spend a long while discussing this, but the result is very clear in the Balkans. Our part of the world has been transformed into a compact of peace. Although not all the problems have been resolved in the Balkans, the way that we are resolving them today is through peaceful democratic dialogue. This is the biggest contribution that we have made to the building of democracy worldwide and to the concept that we came here to discuss.

Today in the Balkans, we are seeing old enemies working together in peace. We are witnesses to an unprecedented era of reconciliation. Our democratic parliament has recently passed an historic resolution on Bosnia; a resolution on the terrible war crime that was committed in Srebrenica and which contained an apology for the misdeed.

I do not know what democracy brought to other countries, but to our country democracy brought the fact that we ended up being the first parliament in the history of Europe which actually extended an apology. And we all know that European history is full of wars and events which require contrition of one kind or another.

Democracy brought us strength to look into the past and to courageously reach across the divide. That is why I am very pleased to be able to say that regional cooperation has never worked better despite the tremendous challenges we are facing.

Today’s topic, this session’s topic, is 2020, the future of democracy. Having gone through the first ten years of our democracy, I will very briefly say that we expect that ten years from now, in 2020, our democracy will have been further strengthened and this will bring about the next level, which is full integration. For us, 2020 means the final victory of democracy and the final victory of integration.

For our part of the world, that means joining the European Union. The interim strategic priority of my Government is membership in the European Union. We expect this to have been acquired by 2020, not just for us, but for all the other nations of the Western Balkans. That would not have been possible to even imagine, had we not gone through ten years of democratic experience.

There are unresolved issues in the part of the world where I come from, but I think that we are now well equipped to address them in their full complexity. No matter how delicate they are, I feel able to confidently predict that they will be resolved in a democratic way, in a way that brings about perennial and lasting peace. This will thereby give an example to other parts of the world as to how things can be done when there is a true democracy.

1 unofficial transcript of the speech delivered