Plenary Session 1 – S.O.S Democracy in Distress
7 November 2022 - 11.10-12.30 / Council of Europe Hemicycle
One recent study suggests that people are increasingly trusting of governments and experts to manage the most pressing issues facing their societies. However, they are also losing faith in the capacity of representative democracy to deliver more broadly.
The implication is that democracies may be unravelling from within. Wars, oppression, and human suffering around the globe is making clear just how dangerous the loss of democratic values can be for a society, for a country and its neighbours, and for the broader international community.
To understand we need to examine the evidence, on everything from respect by for institutions and the rule of law through to civil society participation and voter turnout. We also need experts, activists and participants to tease out the different causes of the strain. Are deepening social, cultural and economic divides fraying people’s trust? Are democratically elected politicians failing to address citizens’ concerns? Are traditional democratic models and processes simply too slow or inefficient to keep up in our fast-paced, tech-driven modern world? This is an opportunity to take a look at the full range of challenges and their root causes.
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Journalist and TV Host, ARTE
Annette Gerlach from Berlin is a bilingual journalist and TV host for ARTE, the European cultural channel she joined when it was founded in 1992. She presents the daily news programme as well as prestigious live music events from La Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, the Paris Opera, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Salzburg Festival, the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Savonlinna Festival in Finland. She is also in charge of developing Educ'ARTE and ARTE Campus in Germany, ARTE's educational tools for schools and universities. Annette Gerlach is a regular speaker at conferences, round tables, symposia or award ceremonies for the Council of Europe or the European Parliament, among other institutions and associations. She also does coaching for television and stage presentations.
Alex Taylor is a European journalist. He has produced and presented TV and radio programmes for 30 years, mainly on French TV and radio (France Télévisions, France Inter), but also for international broadcasters (Euronews, TV5 Monde, ARTE, BBC). He was Programme Director for Radio France Internationale in charge of implementing the current 24 hours news format. Parallel to journalism, he has hosted some 1 500 international conferences on a wide variety of topics, especially environmental issues. He has also written a best seller on his passion, languages, of which he speaks (more or less) 7. He also once worked as a camel trainer in a circus.
Vice-President of the European Parliament
Dita Charanzová is a Czech politician and diplomat who has served as Vice President of the European Parliament since 2019, and as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2014 for the ANO 2011 party. She has been a Vice President of the ALDE Party since 2018.
President of Mongolia (2009 -2017) and Member of Club de Madrid
Elbegdorj Tsakhia is a public servant, a freedom fighter, and a policymaker from Mongolia. In 1990, he was one of the key leaders of the Mongolian Democratic Revolution and since then have continuously served Mongolia as a Member of Parliament, Prime Minister, and elected President. Born in the isolated Western Mongolia as the youngest of eight sons from a humble traditional nomadic beginning he has worked in a copper mine, as a soldier and a journalist in the army newspaper. Through the Elbegdorj Institute he is continuing his work to strengthen the rule of law in Asia, foster social justice, fight poverty, combat corruption, support environmental sustainability, and advance active participatory democracy. He has also initiated and led many social, economic, and governance reforms. He is now a Member of Club de Madrid.
Minister of Culture
Representative of the Belarussian democratic opposition