Strasbourg: 24.01.2013: Civil Society representatives from all over Europe today agreed a “Declaration on Genuine Democracy” setting out the basic requirements of a democratic system.

The statement by the Council of Europe’s Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations, which represents more than 370 Europe-wide INGOs, comes at a time when a growing number of countries and political parties are pursuing often questionable populist and nationalistic goals.

The purpose of the text is to provide a check list of the fundamental principles of democracy in order to expand and consolidate democracy in Europe and elsewhere.

The Conference also advocates its use for determining the conditions required not only for becoming, but also for remaining, a member state of the Council of Europe.

The text (see link below) is based on Council of Europe Conventions and Declarations as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

It is divided into 3 main sections, (A) Principles and Values of Genuine Democracy, (B) Political Conditions for the Achievement of Genuine Democracy and (C) Economic, Social and Cultural Conditions for the achievement of Genuine Democracy.

The document sets out to define more clearly the Council of Europe’s 3 distinguishing features: respect for the universal and indivisible rights of the individual, the rule of law and the genuinely democratic nature of political systems.

The views of the INGO Conference will be brought to the attention of relevant bodies and in particular the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Declaration on Genuine Democracy