The Democracy Debate series has been initiated by the Secretary General in order to stimulate in-house reflection and discussion on the developments and challenges affecting our societies, thereby fostering innovative thinking and action within the Organisation helping to forge the role of the Council of Europe as a laboratory for new concepts and ideas on democracy.


Between 2011 and 2012, eight Democracy Debates took place at the Council of Europe Headquarters in Strasbourg. The first 2012 debate (sixth Debate) was introduced by Ayşe Kadioglu on Friday, 16 March.  During the 2011 season, Democracy Debates have been given by Ziga Turk (5 April), Zygmunt Bauman (16 June), John Keane (5 July), Ivan Krastev (24 November) and Jacques Rupnik (13 December).
All publications are included in publication "Democracy on the precipice "

Inaugural Debate

Strasbourg, 5 April 2011

"Europe in times of change:  Governance, democratic empowerment and the information age"


Professor Ziga Turk is former Minister for Growth in the Slovenian Government and former Secretary General of the Reflection Group on the Future of Europe, chaired by Felipe Gonzales.)


"The world is not changing gradually, but with unprecedented rapidity through five grand transformations: (a) Abundance and automation, (b) the rise of BRIC and globalization, (c) climate change and energy revolution, (d) demographic changes and (e) electronic information and communication technology. (...)


Text of speech

5th Debate

Strasbourg, 13 December 2011


"Europe and the Democratisation of its Neighbourghoods"

Jacques RUPNIK

Jacques Rupnik is a political scientist and historian specialising in central and eastern European issues. He is Research Director at FNSP/CERI (National Foundation of Political Science / Centre for International Studies and Research), Paris, and Visiting Professor at the Collège d'Europe, Bruges. A Director of the quarterly Review Transeuropeennes, he has been a Professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris since 1982 and an advisor to the European Commission since 2007. He is the Chairman of the club 'Grande Europe'".

Among his most recent publications :  (with Ch.Lequesne) 1989 :Europe and the World transformed, London, Routledge, 2011 ; Les banlieues de l'Europe. Les politiques de voisinage de l’Union européenne, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, 2007 ;L'Europe des Vingt-Cinq. 25 cartes pour un jeu complexe, (avec Christian Lequesne), Paris, Autrement, 2004 (nouvelle ed. 2005).

More on Jacques Rupnik

2nd Debate

Strasbourg, 16 June 2011

"What is Central in Central Europe ?"

Zygmunt BAUMAN


Zygmunt Bauman treated his audience to a tour d'horizon on how Europe’s global role today should be based on our success in convincing former enemies that the future is shared and to be built collectively. This is the European model and its roots encompass central and eastern Europe as much as western Europe.




Text of speech

Sixth Debate

Strasbourg, 16 March 2012


"The role of Islam

in the democratic transformation of Arab countries"

Ayşe Kadıoğlu

Ayşe Kadioğlu is a Professor of Political Science at Sabancı University, Istanbul. She holds a PhD in Political Science, Boston University (1990), MA in International Relations, The University of Chicago (1984) and a BS in Political Science, Middle East Technical University (1982).  She was one of the nine members of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Council of Europe that drafted the report 'Living together in 21st century Europe – Combining Diversity and Freedom in 21st Century Europe'.  

She is the author of three books and of various articles in scientific journals e.g. Middle East Journal, Middle Eastern Politics, International Migration, Muslim World, Citizenship Studies, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Law and Governance.  She is the co-editor (with Fuat Keyman) of Symbiotic Antagonisms: Competing Nationalisms in Turkey.

More on Ayse Kadioglu 

3rd Debate

Strasbourg, 5 July 2011


"Democracy in the Age of Google, Facebook and WikiLeaks"


John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB).


He is the Director of the recently founded Sydney Democracy Initiative which fosters cross-disciplinary projects and public policy debates on all matters concerning democracy. During his many years in Britain, The Times ranked him one of the country's leading political thinkers and a writer whose work has 'world-wide importance'. He is the author of the recent and widely acclaimed book Life and Death of Democracy.




Text of speech

7th debate
Strasbourg,  3 April 2012

"Europe at Risk: The Cosmopolitan Turn"

Prof. Ulrich BECK

Ulrich Beck is Professor for Sociology at the University of Munich, and the British Journal of Sociology Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.  Beck is co-editor of Soziale Welt and of the books Edition Second Modernity at Suhrkamp. From 1995-1997 he was member of the Future Commission of the German Government.

His interests focus on 'risk society', 'institutionalized individualization', 'reflexive modernization', 'cosmopolitanism', 'cosmopolitization' and the 'emergence of cosmopolitan risk communities'. He was the director of a research centre at the University of Munich (in cooperation with three other universities in the area), Sonderforschungsbereich - Reflexive Modernization, financed 1999-2009 by the DFG (German Research Society). He has been a fellow of several scientific institutions, among others the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin in 1990-1991.

More on Ulrich Beck

4th Debate

Strasbourg, 24 November 2011


"Europe in Crisis: is liberal democracy at risk?"


Political scientist Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria.


He is a founding member and board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.


He contributes frequently to leading European and American publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Le Monde, and The Financial Times, among others.


Editor in chief of the Bulgarian edition of Foreign Policy, his books in English include The Anti-American Century (2007).


Audio recording

Text of speech


8th Debate

Strasbourg, 8 June November 2012


"Over managed democracy

and its limitations"


Nickolay PETROV

 Dr. Nikolay Petrov is Scholar in Residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center, where he chairs the programme 'Society and Regions'. He also serves as a columnist for the Moscow Times, a member of PONARS-Eurasia, and a member of the scientific board of The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies and of the editorial board of Russian Politics and Law.


He is the co-author of Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Post-Communist Political Reform (2004); The Dynamics of Russian Politics: Putin’s Reform of Federal-Regional Relations (2004 and 2005); Putin's Russia: Past Imperfect, Future Uncertain (2010); Over-managed Democracy in Russia: Governance Implications of Hybrid Regimes (2010), and Russia in 2020: Scenarios for the Future (2011).