Why this project?

The Council of Europe recognises the “considerable potential and therefore fundamental role in promoting Council of Europe’s values” that young people play. Democracy has been particularly challenged in recent years due to the rise of populism and demotatorships, fake news, shrinking space for civil society and, more recently, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. All of this contributes to a climate where young people fear retribution when exercising freedom of expression and, at the same time, “show a high degree of political interest but a low degree of engagement with essential democratic processes”. Concerns regarding the health of democracies in Europe have been consistently raised, especially in view of the successive and multiple crises that trouble the perspective of growing up with confidence about the future. The war in Ukraine aggravated the sentiment of crisis and the need to act to save democracy and peace.

The only response to the problems of democracy is more democracy: democracy is a process of democratisation. Learning about and for democracy, support and recognition given to structures and new forms of youth participation, including an enabling environment for youth civil society, remain key areas of action.

What is Democracy Here | Democracy Now?

Democracy Here | Democracy Now is a Council of Europe project aiming for revitalising democracy and for strengthening mutual trust between young people and democratic institutions and processes. Initiated at the call of the Advisory Council on Youth, the project has the following phases: 

  • preparation phase (2020-1) focused on the mobilisation of partners and resources for the project. In this phase, the Inception seminar held in Strasbourg in November 2021 was of particular importance. 
  • campaign phase (2022) focused on raising awareness and mobilising young people to discuss and explore the topic of democracy, as well as their role in the proesses to revitalise it. In this phase, 40 projets, both international and local, were implemented with the support of the European Youth Foundation. 28 National contact points further mobilised initiative and raised awareness in the member states. The Youth Action Week: Democracy Now! was the flagship activity bringing together 450 activists to discuss on the themes of access to rights, meaningful youth participation, digitalisation and peace. The activity resulted in a Call for action featuring 50 proposals for actions to be taken by young people, civil society, member states and the Council of Europe. 
  • follow-up phase (2023) with a focus on advocacy and initiatives to implement the Call for action, networking and learning, as well as capacity building for both authorities and youth civil society. You can read more about the foreseen activities here. 


Project governance

The project is led by a Follow-up Group nominated by the Joint Council on Youth and composed of representatives of the Advisory Council on Youth and the European Steering Committee for Youth (the co-management), the European Youth Forum and other experts and organisations depending on themes and needs.

Their role is to give guidance and direction to the project at the European level, to support national campaigns and to seek to translate the campaign results into policy and programme.