From the moment a ballot goes into the ballot box to the way that decisions are made in communities,  well-functioning and inclusive democracy is the basis of healthy societies.

Democracy cannot survive without fair and free elections, a media unhampered by outside influence, a well-informed population and the ability for everyone to be involved, no matter what their background or the language they speak. These are elements the Council of Europe is pledged to protect with its work to maintain democracy, to involve citizens in the choices made for them and to protect the environment and heritage for everyone to enjoy.

Democracy means participation: civil society and NGOs are at the root of much of our work and the motor behind the World Forum for Democracy, the North South Centre for Global Interdependence, and the Council of Europe youth sector.