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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")

 

Developing democracy in Europe - an analytical summary of the Council of Europe’s acquis

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. Word version (incl. analytical & executive summaries)

Developing democracy – an analytical summary of the Council of Europe’s acquis analyses the context and activities of the Council of Europe’s work to enhance democratic institutions, in particular through adopted texts – conventions, charters, recommendations or resolutions, thus providing a stocktake of the Council’s contribution to the multi-stage process of making democratic institutions work at the different levels in member states. Formal rules have to be created; they then need to be recognised by the relevant political actors; over time they are embedded into institutions; and finally, their implementation must be monitored. All these stages have been accorded significance within the acquis.

This publication argues that, in expanding its acquis, the Council of Europe should consider clarifying and bringing together the values and basic principles that it seeks to articulate through the diversity of its instruments. The Council should also explore the current and historical reasons which have led to varying interpretations of the acquis, and which have given rise to some very different practices in the member states. It will be the Council of Europe’s task to reflect upon new directions for democracy to take in the future which will help accommodate these changes.

The authors
Lawrence Pratchett is Director of the Local Governance Research Unit and Reader in Local Democracy at De Montfort University in Leicester. His research and publications focus on a range of issues around local government and democracy, especially: electronic government and electronic democracy, citizen engagement and participation and public service ethics.

Vivien Lowndes is Professor of Local Government Studies at De Montfort University, and her research and publications focus on citizen participation, social capital, local democracy and institutional design. Her most recent research is on local political readership and on local variations in political participation.