On the basis of the European Cultural Convention, the Directorate of Democratic Participation enables Europe’s citizens to participate effectively in today’s diverse and complex democratic societies. It encourages active and responsible citizenship by empowering citizens to contribute and develop a sense of ownership over the activities of decision-makers and institutions.

A number of Partial Agreements also contribute to strengthening member States’ commitment in these areas.

Organisation chart of the Directorate of the Democratic Participation

Culture, Nature and Heritage Department

  • We support access to culture for all, in its many, diverse forms, as fundamental to democratic, tolerant and inclusive societies.
  • Our conventions promote the sustainable and democratic management of Europe’s cultural and natural heritage, protecting Europe’s biodiversity for future generations.
  • We promote cultural policies that tackle the challenges posed by the digitisation of culture.

Youth department

  • We empower young people to access their human rights – facilitating their autonomy and participation – and help our member states develop the requisite youth policies.
  • We support young people who are active in civil society and work with them on how to combat discrimination and exclusion.
  • Each year our European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest host over 10,000 participants in a variety of activities and the European Youth Foundation disburses over €4m to youth organisations.

More about the Youth Department activities

Education Department

  • Our citizenship and human rights education tools and programmes help individuals acquire the attitudes, skills, values, critical understanding and knowledge required to participate in democratic society, both on and off-line.
  • We promote inclusive, quality education for all.
  • We facilitate the integration of refugees and migrants, including with tools to recognise their qualifications and to teach them the language of their host country.
  • We work to combat cross-border and institutional fraud and corruption in education, particularly in higher education.
  • We support whole-school approaches to building democracy through education, providing materials for educators, parents and students.

 More about the Education Department activities

Partial Agreements

  • European Centre for Modern Languages (Graz, Austria)
    The ECML promotes reform and best practice in the teaching and learning of languages, including through teacher training and the publication of materials for educators.
  • Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card
    Over four million young people have a European Youth Card, which contributes to their social, cultural, educational and economic mobility. The card gives advantages/discounts on transport, accommodation, language courses and cultural activities.
  • Cultural Routes (Luxembourg)
    More than 30 Cultural Routes cross the whole of Europe, promoting mutual understanding and an appreciation of European history, identity and diversity.
  • Eurimages
    Eurimages promotes European co-operation and diversity by supporting quality films produced by professionals from different European countries. More than 60 co-productions have won prestigious awards.
  • EUR-OPA
    EUR-OPA assists public authorities in disaster prevention and management and in post-disaster rehabilitation, by identifying good practice, raising awareness and developing new tools, supported by 26 national, specialised centres.
  • North-South Centre (Lisbon, Portugal)
    The North-South Centre empowers civil society, particularly young people and women, through intercultural dialogue and global education, focusing on multilateral cooperation between the Council of Europe’s member states and neighbouring countries.