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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")

 

Reflections on the future of democracy in Europe (Council of Europe, September 2005)Click here to buy the book

This book contains the major contributions to the Conference “the future of democracy in Europe” (Barcelona, November 2004), organised in the framework of the Council of Europe Project “Making Democratic Institutions Work” (2002-2004).

Click here for Pdf version

In 2004, experts from civil society, governments and academia came together in Barcelona at the Council of Europe’s conference on “The future of democracy in Europe” to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing contemporary democratic governments. In spite of the unprecedented and favourable context of democracy in Europe today, states are having increasing difficulty in meeting these challenges through their traditional institutions and arrangements. The objective of the conference, which marked the end of the three-year integrated project “Making democratic institutions work, was to debate proposals for democratic reform.

Reflections on the future of democracy in Europe contains major contributions to this conference. A broad range of topics was covered, including: more inclusive elections; the financing of political parties; deliberation mechanisms; popular initiatives and referendums; and, in particular, how modern communication technologies can affect the democratic process. The debate identified the types of changes needed to make governments more accountable, to offset political disengagement and to enhance incentives for citizens to participate in decision-making processes.

The conference concluded that democratic practice needs to be continually evaluated and renewed to adapt to new contexts. The participants also agreed that the Council of Europe should set up a forum for the future of democracy to promote reforms across Europe. The forum would act as a type of clearing house for exchanging new ideas and practices, and propose potential models that individual member states can adapt for their own use. Reforms should adhere to the core values of the Council of Europe’s acquis in this field, but be flexible enough to allow for the considerable institutional variety in the Organisation’s member states.