Sponsorship: European Union

7 November 2019 - 14.30-16.30 - room 7 - Interpretation: FR/EN

Democracy is facing many challenges today. In Europe and elsewhere in the world we see a lower trust in the institutions, increasing political apathy, and political polarisation and fragmentation. Different kinds of manipulation and disinformation, especially during electoral campaigns, are on the rise, and highly polarised societies are the most vulnerable to this. But on the other hand, empowered citizens can now inform and express themselves as well as participate in decision making like never before. The challenge for democracy in the 21st century is to find the right means to protect the freedoms that come with more access to information, while limiting the risks that go along with them.

deferred transmission
Forum Talk 6: Strenghtening democracy in the 21st century

Full screen: ENFR / RU / ORIGINAL

Palais de l'Europe, room 7 7 November 2019 - 14.30-16.30
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BOULANGER Marie-Hélène

Marie-Hélène BOULANGER

Head of Unit, Union Citizenship Rights and Free Movement, DG Justice, European Commission

Marie-Hélène Boulanger started her career working 6 years in the field of data protection with Professor Poullet at the University of Namur (Belgium). She then joined the Belgian Data Protection Authority where she spent more than 5 years, for 2 years of which she was the secretary of this authority. She subsequently joined Directorate-General Internal Market of the European Commission as a national expert with the data protection unit. Following that, she transferred to the unit responsible for large scale IT systems of the Directorate General of the European Commission in charge of Justice and Home affairs, where she has been responsible for the legal team of the unit and also specialised in the policy aspects of the Schengen Information System. Between September 2009 and June 2014, she was heading the data protection unit of the European Commission in charge among others of the reform of EU data protection law. Since July 2014, she is the head of the unit in charge of citizenship rights including electoral rights and free movement. Between October 2016 and Easter 2017, she was acting Director of the Equality and Union citizenship Directorate of DG JUSTICE.



Head of Division, Democracy and Electoral Observation, EEAS

Patrick Costello is currently Head of the Democracy and Electoral Observation Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS). He has been an EU official for 22 years working in the European Parliament, European Commission and EEAS and has served in a number of Cabinets including those of Chris Patten, Vice-President Margot Wallström (as deputy Head of Cabinet), EP President Josep Borrell (as diplomatic adviser) and Karmenu Vella (as Head of Cabinet). Other jobs have included EEAS head of division for the Middle East and deputy to the Chair of the Political and Security Committee. Prior to joining the European Institutions, he worked for the UN in Haiti (MICIVIH) and as an electoral observer in South Africa (UNOMSA) and he started his career as a human rights campaigner on Central America.



Head of Department for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus at Deutsche Welle


Ingo Mannteufel is Head of the Department for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and Head of the Russian Service at Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in Bonn. He studied at the University of London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, United Kingdom, and the University of Cologne, Germany. He is a journalist and German media expert specializing on Russia and Eastern Europe working for DW since 2000.  



Head of the Regional Europe Programme and Europe Office, IDEA

Sam van der Staak is the Head of International IDEA’s Europe Programme, and Head of the International IDEA Office to the EU. He has previously worked in countries including Kenya and Georgia, where he advised electoral commissions, political parties and other democratic institutions on a broad range of democratic reforms. Sam is the author of publications on political finance, political party development, and citizen movements. He is a regular commentator for various international media. Prior to his involvement in democracy assistance, he worked in the Netherlands House of Representatives.

GRUDEN Matjaž 2019


Director of Democratic Participation, Council of Europe

Matjaž Gruden is Director of Democratic Participation at the Council of Europe, which includes Council of Europe activities and programmes in the area of education, including education for democratic citizenship, youth cooperation, culture and cultural heritage, landscape and biodiversity. The Directorate also includes the Platform for the protection of Journalists, the Eurimages film fund and the North-South Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity. Matjaž Gruden previously served as Director of Policy Planning, Deputy Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General, political adviser and speechwriter for the Secretary General and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Prior to his career at the Council of Europe, he was a diplomat at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted in Brussels. He holds a law degree from the Law Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, as well as a post-graduate degree in EU law from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

ROMEO Andrea

Andrea ROMEO

Trainee at the Political Section of the European Union Delegation to the Council of Europe

Andrea Romeo is a Trainee at the Political Section of the European Union Delegation to the Council of Europe. He previously worked as an intern at the Economic and Trade Office of the Italian Embassy in Paris, and as Liaison Officer to the President and the Secretary General of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on the occasion of the 25th OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan. After graduating with a Master's degree in International Relations at the University of Milan, he obtained a Master in Diplomacy at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI). Having spent part of his studies in Moscow and Paris, he is fluent in English, French, and Russian.


Vadot (Belgium)