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E-democracy projects

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.


Forum previous sessions


(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.


(Yerevan, October)

Perspectives 2020 Democracy in Europe - Principles and Challenges



''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.




(Kyiv, October)

Electoral systems: strengthening democracy in the 21st century


 "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..




(Madrid, October)

"E-democracy: who dares?"


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




(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.




(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.



Launch meeting (Warsaw, November 2005)

"Citizens' participation"



The discussions addressed the state of contemporary democracy in Europe.


Previous projects


Democratic institutions work")


Strasbourg, 19 October 2008

Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy
Madrid, Spain
Municipal Congress Centre
15-17 October 2008

Hosted by the Spanish Ministry of Public Administrations
with the support of the City of Madrid

“e-democracy: who dares ?”


Wednesday 15 October - DAY ONE

2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Registration of participants

4 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.

Opening of the Forum for the Future of Democracy 2008

Welcome by:

Mr. Fernando Puig de la Bellacasa Aguirre, State Secretary, Ministry of Public Administrations, Spain

Ms Ana Botella, Deputy Mayor of Madrid

Opening Speeches:

Right Hon Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Mr. Lluís Maria de Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Mr. Yavuz Mildon, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (speech in French)

Mr. Christer Hallerby, State Secretary, Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality, Sweden, representing the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers and reporting on follow-up to the 2007 Forum Session in Sweden

5.30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Break

First Plenary session, Chair: Mr. Lluís Maria de Puig
Setting the scene

Panel debate
“Opportunities and risks of e-democracy”

Prof. Lawrence Pratchett, Head of Department of Public Policy, Leicester Business School, De Montfort University, United Kingdom
Mr. Johan Gorecki, CEO and founder, Globe Forum Business Network and co-developer of Skype, Sweden
Mr. Vasilis Koulolias, Executive Director, Gov2u, Greece

9 p.m.
Welcome reception given by the City of Madrid at Parque del Retiro
for all participants in the Forum

Thursday 16 October - DAY TWO

9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Six parallel workshop tracks


I. democratic governance

    II. empowerment

III. International and regulatory context



sala Paris

working languages:
English, French

e- participation at local level

sala Madrid

working languages:
English, French, German, Spanish

ICT in electoral processes
Biennial review meeting of Rec(2004)11
on e-voting

sala London

working languages:


sala Brussels

working language:

e-democracy from the grass roots

sala Berlin

working language:


sala Amsterdam

working language:


ICT for participatory democracy

e-tools in citizen participation at local level

e-voting: Recent develop-ments and challenges


The role of the media

e-government and e-democracy
developments worldwide


Opportunities for and challenges to representative democracy

e-participatory budgeting

Certification, auditing and observation of e-enabled elections


e-activism/ e-campaigning

Regulatory aspects relevant to e-democracy

Sub-theme I: Democratic governance

Workshop track No. 1

Rapporteur: Ms. Ella Taylor-Smith, Napier University, United Kingdom

ICT for participatory democracy

Chair: Mr. Thomas Buchsbaum, Ministry of European and International Affairs, Austria, Chairman of CAHDE: “COE standard setting on e-democracy”


Prof. Ann Macintosh, University of Leeds, United Kingdom: Success, failure and challenges of e-participation

Mr. Göran Lindblad, Chairman of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: ICT for participatory democracy

Mr. Csaba Madarasz, Council of Europe INGO Conference : Involving citizens in e-democracy

Prof. Herbert Kubicek, Institute for Information Management, Bremen, Germany: E-participation in Germany - an overview

Mr. Víctor Agulló, Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia, Spain: E-participation at the regional level in Spain

Ms Joanne Caddy, OECD: From open to inclusive: Building citizen centered policy and services

Opportunities for and challenges to representative democracy
(CoE partner:PACE)

Chair: Mr. Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly on the Forum for the Future of Democracy


Mr. Gherardo Casini, UNDESA, Rome: ICT in Parliaments

Mr. Andreas Gross, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: “E-democracy is only a tool we need”,

Mr Alessandro Villani, Director for coordination of projects, e-Government and innovation, City of Florence, Italy, Council of Europe Congress: E-tools: a response to the needs of local authorities

Mr. Bruno Kaufmann, Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe: Towards a transnational direct democratic infrastructure”, by Mr Bruno Kaufmann
(PDF version)

Mr Dick Toornstra, DG EXPO, European Parliament: Perceptions from a cross-border parliament

Workshop track No. 2
e-participation at the local level
This workshop track is organised by the City of Madrid

Rapporteur: Mr. David Ríos Insua, Professor of Statistics and Operation Research, Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, Vicerector of International Relations and
New Technologies, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid

E-tools in citizen participation at local level

Chair: Mr. Alejandro Arranz, Director General for Innovation and Technology, City of Madrid


Mr. José Nuño, General Directorate of Quality Management and Citizen Relations, City of Madrid: Interactive local government on the web site of the City of Madrid

Mr. Fernando Rocafull, Director General of Latin American Capital Cities Union, General Secretariat (UCCI): E-participation policies in Latin American municipalities

Mr. Helmut Himmelsbach, Mayor of the City of Heilbronn, Germany, Rapporteur of the Council of Europe Congress on Electronic democracy and deliberative consultation on urban projects: Using e-tools in urban/spatial planning (German version )

Mr. Rick Klooster, City of Apeldoorn, Netherlands: VirtuoCity - Urban planning through ICTs in Apeldoorn, Helmond and Tilburg

Mr. Francesco Molinari, ALTEC, Italy: ICTs for urban planning in the City of Massa

Mr. Rui Lourenco, Coimbra University/Portugal: Developing electronic documentation for citizen debates at community level

Ms Gun Eriksson, Sigtuna, host city to the 2007 FFD session: E-participation in the Swedish town of Sigtuna

e-participatory Budgets

Chair: Ms Sandra de Lorite, City of Madrid Councillor on Citizen Participation
Spanish version
Moderator: Mr. José Manuel Rodríguez Álvarez, Deputy Director of European Affairs, City of Madrid


Mr. Manuel Arenilla, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain: : Participatory Budgets - A methodological approach (Spanish version)

Mr. Victor Garcia Segador, General Director for Citizen Participation, City of Madrid: Participatory Budgets - the experience in Madrid

Mr. Julio Andrade, Councillor for Citizen Participation, Málaga, Spain: e-Participatory Budgets in the City of Málaga (http://www.jcebrian.com/j_andrade.ppt.zip)

Mr. Simon James, United Kingdom, Council of Europe Congress: Opening up the Council - Participatory budgeting in Kingston

Mr. Claudio Forghieri, Modena City Council, Italy: A multichannel approach to the e-Participatory Budget: the experience of the City of Modena

Mr. Daniel Chavez, Transnational Institute, The Netherlands: Sociological Aspects of Participatory Budgets

Workshop track No. 3
ICT in electoral processes

e-voting: Recent developments and challenges
Certification, auditing and observation of e-enabled elections
2008 biennial review meeting of CM Recommendation (2004)11 on legal, operational and technical standards for e-voting, with special invitees from CoE member states, open to all FFD participants

Rapporteur: Prof. Laurence Monnoyer-Smith, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France

Chair: Mr. Luc van den Brande, Chairman of the Council for Democratic Elections, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

First Session: Progress reports from Council of Europe member states


Mr. Paul Docker, Ministry of Justice, United Kingdom: : E-voting the UK perspective
Word version

Ms. Ardita Driza Maurer, Federal Chancellery, Switzerland: Evolution of e-voting in Switzerland between 2006-2008 and outlook

Mr. Danilo Rota, Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland : E-government and electronic voting

Prof. Alexander Trechsel, European University Institute, Florence, Italy: An analysis of the e-enabled elections in Estonia in 2005 and 2007

Mr. Robert Krimmer, E-voting.cc, Austria: E-voting in Austria, current developments and outlook

Progress reports from other Council of Europe member states

Second Session: Activities and projects by International Organizations and other stakeholders

Ms Melanie Volkamer, University of Passau, Germany: The Common Criteria Protection Profile “Basic set of security requirements for Online Voting Products
Word version
Mr. Mats Lindberg, OSCE/ODIHR: Meaningful observation of electronic voting processes
(word version)

Mr. Jordi Barrat i Esteve, University of Alacant, Spain: Certification of e-voting systems: what about transparency?

Mr. John Borras, Election Markup Language (EML) progress report
Election Markup Language (EML) progress report

Ms Gabriele Kucsko-Stadlmayer, member of the Venice Commission: The work of the Venice Commission in the field of e-democracy, in particular e-voting

Concluding session: Looking ahead - Future prospects and challenges, and the role of the Council of Europe

Sub-theme II: Empowerment

Workshop track No. 4

Rapporteur: Prof. Tomas Ohlin, Telo Konsult, Sweden

(partner country: Sweden)

Chair: Mr. Christer Hallerby, State Secretary, Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality, Sweden


Mr. Anders Nordh, Mr. Hansi Carlsson, IT Strategists, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR): Citizen e-participation in Local Authorities and Regions - a brief overview

Ms. Ami Netzler, Strategy analyst, Ms. June-Ann Vincent, Project manager for Västerås 2026, Municipality of Västerås, Sweden: Young people’s e-participation for future Västerås, Sweden’s sixth largest city

Mr. Antoni Bruel i Carreras, General Coordinator, International Committee of the Red Cross: ICT for vulnerable groups

Mr. Kent Olsson, Sweden (EPP/CD), member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: How to get young people more interested in politics by e-democracy

Mr. Matt Poelmans, Burgerlink, Netherlands: Using ICT for involving citizens in democratic processes

Prof. Monique Leyenaar, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands: E-Democracy:
Blessing or Curse?
(Word version)


Chair: Ms Reinhild Otte, Chair of the Council of Europe Advisory Group on Education for democratic citizenship and Human Rights Education


Mr. Miguel Gonzalez-Sancho, Deputy Head of Unit H3: ICT for inclusion, DG Information Society and Media, European Commission: European Union Policy on e-inclusion

Ms Anne Faulkner, Head of Policy and Business Development, UK online centers, Sheffield, United Kingdom: Fostering e-inclusion – the experience of the UK online centres

Ms Jutta Croll, Foundation for Digital Opportunities (Stiftung Digitale Chancen), Bremen, Germany: Ways of improving people’s proficiency for engaging in the digital world

Prof. Divina Frau-Meigs, Paris, France: How can formal education produce screen-smart and media and information literate children ?

Workshop track No. 5
e-democracy from the grass roots

Rapporteur: Mr. Thierry Vedel, Centre de recherches politiques de Sciences Po, Paris, France

The role of the media in promoting democratic participation
using the possibilities of ICT
(CoE partner: DG-HL/Media Division)

Chair: Mr. Patrick Segalla, Federal Chancellery, Austria


Mr. Karol Jakubowicz, Poland, former Chairman of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Mass Media and New Communication Services (CDMC): The role and future of public service media

Mr. Francesco Piccinini, Agoravox.it: The experience and possibilities
of new Internet-based media in promoting democratic participation

Mr. Alex Sergent, Catch 21 (“UK’s first internet television channel - run by young people, for young people”): What kind of e-participation do young people want and what role should the media play ? (Video recording

e-activism / e-campaigning

Chair: Mr. Zbiegniew Pisarski, Casimir Pulaski Foundation, Poland


Ms Sonja Kubisch, National Network for Civil Society (Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement), Germany: The Buergernetz, an online network for civic engagement

Mr. Thomas Noirfalisse, Oxfam International: Does e-campaigning really work? An overview of successes and failures

Mr. Emin Huseynzade, Transition Online, Azerbaijan: The situation of citizen media in Azerbaijan

Prof. Alexander Trechsel, European University Institute, Florence, Italy: Voting Advice Applications (VAAs)

Ms Rachel Gibson, University of Manchester, United Kingdom: The use of new media by political organisations and candidates in campaigns and elections

Sub-theme III: International and regulatory context

Workshop track No. 6
International and regulatory context

Rapporteur: Mr Lasse Berntzen, Vestfold University College, Norway
Powerpoint presentation - Report
E-government and e-democracy developments worldwide

Chair: Prof. Maria Wimmer, University of Koblenz, Germany


Mr Peter Ferdinand, Director, Centre for Studies in Democratisation, University of Warwick, United Kingdom : E-democracy and E-government

Ms Valerie Frissen, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO): The report “Towards the user generated State: The impact of Web 2.0 on the government”

Prof. Kim Viborg Andersen, Center for Applied ICT, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark: “Public Sector process rebuilding”

Mr Jeremy Millard, Danish Technology Institute: “How Different Citizen Groups use e-Government Services in Europe”

Mr Athanassios Chrissafis, Unit e-Government, DG INFSO, European Commission: “E-participation development in the EU”

Mr. Michael Stanley-Jones, Aarhus Convention Secretariat, UNECE Geneva: Promoting e-democracy in support of environmentally sustainable development: the experience under the Aarhus Convention

Regulatory aspects relevant to e-democracy

Chair: Mr. Cyril Ritchie, Council of Europe Conference of INGOs


Mr Thomas Buchsbaum, Chairman of CAHDE: Introduction

Ms Sylvia Kierkegaard, IT lawyer, Denmark: “Access to public documents”

Prof. David Souter, UK: Regulatory initiatives in the field of Internet Governance, in particular with regard to e-governance

Ms Evika Karamagioli, Gov2u, Greece: Regulatory action in the field of e-democracy from an ethical perspective

Prof. Maria Wimmer, University of Koblenz, Germany: “A researcher’s perspective of regulatory issues”

Ms. Antonella Valmorbida, Director of the Association of the Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA): “Experiences of local and regional authorities”

Ms Blanca Rodríguez Antigüedad, Ministry of Public Administrations, Spain: The Law on Electronic Access to Public Administration and its implications for citizen participation

Friday 17 October - DAY THREE

10 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.

Concluding Plenary session

Chair: Mr. Lluís Maria de Puig

Contribution by Mr. Jean-Marie Heydt, Vice-President of the Council of Europe Conference of INGOs

Reports from workshops by the workshop rapporteurs:
Ms Ella Taylor-Smith, Mr. David Ríos Insua, Ms Laurence Monnoyer-Smith,
Mr. Tomas Ohlin, Mr. Thierry Vedel, Mr. Lasse Berntzen

Panel: Results and conclusions of the Forum for the Future of Democracy 2008
- The General rapporteurs: Prof. Tomás de la Quadra-Salcedo Fernández del Castillo, Mr. Zoltán Szabó, Mr. Alan Lloyd
- Mr. Steven Clift, Publicus.Net, USA


Chair: Ambassador Marta Vilardell Coma, Permanent Representative of Spain to the Council of Europe

Presentation of the Forum conclusions:
Prof. Tomás de la Quadra-Salcedo Fernández del Castillo

Closing of the 2008 Session and invitation to the 2009 Session in Ukraine:
Ms Sandra de Lorite, City of Madrid Councillor on Citizen Participation
Mr. Jean-Louis Laurens, Director General of Democracy and Political Affairs of the Council of Europe
Mr. Volodymyr Khandogìy, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine