Other projects

E-democracy projects

Forum History


The Forum was established by the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe  (Warsaw, May 2005), to strengthen democracy, political freedoms and citizens' participation.


Forum previous sessions


(Limassol, Cyprus, October)

Interdependence of democracy and social cohesion.

New: Proceedings

"Radical measures taken in many countries to try to balance public budgets are both necessary and understandable” but  “Countries are running a high risk of seriously undermining the European model of social cohesion.”  declared Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland while opening the Cyprus Forum.


(Yerevan, October)

Perspectives 2020 Democracy in Europe - Principles and Challenges



''The Council of Europe has a unique strategic role to play in strengthening good democratic governance at all levels in the European space''. Democracy, or rather good democratic governance, is now not only intrinsically linked to the respect of human rights but is also recognised as the most effective form of governance to ensure stability, sustainability and well-being.

 That was the main message of the 2010 Forum.




(Kyiv, October)

Electoral systems: strengthening democracy in the 21st century


 "In a genuine democracy, the citizen is sovereign and the voter decides" - that was the main message of the 2009 Forum, which highlighted the need for greater public involvement, with a view to increasing voter turnout and ensuring that all stages of public life are democratic..




(Madrid, October)

"E-democracy: who dares?"


The discussions addressed the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on democracy.




(Stockholm, June)

"Power and empowerment - The interdependence of democracy and human rights"


This event addressed issues such as the role and responsibilities of the opposition, representative democracy at the local and regional level, empowerment of the individual and non-discrimination, respect for freedom of expression and association for civil society, and fostering democracy, human rights and social networks.




(Moscow, October)

"The role of political parties in the building of democracy"


The Forum reflected on  the role and responsibilities of political parties in finding democratic solutions to contemporary challenges, the interaction between political parties and with other actors in the democratic process, and the building and strengthening of democratic institutions.



Launch meeting (Warsaw, November 2005)

"Citizens' participation"



The discussions addressed the state of contemporary democracy in Europe.


Previous projects


Democratic institutions work")


The future of democracy in Europe - trends, analyses and reforms - Click here to buy the book

. Introduction
. Analytical Summary
. Word version

In this unprecedently favourable context of democracy in Europe, how does one explain citizens’ widespread discontent with the way “real-existing democracy” is practised? Moreover, today’s governments are being assailed by a myriad of external forces, such as globalisation, European integration and inter-cultural migration, to name but a few, which have changed the context in which liberal political democracy operates, and which governments are finding increasingly difficult to cope with.
The future of democracy – trends, analyses and reforms addresses these forces as posing both “challenges and opportunities” facing democracy, analyses the relation of democratic “actors and processes” in relation to “challenges and opportunities” and to the intrinsic tendencies of the practice of “real-existing” democracy. It concludes by proposing twenty-eight reforms that are intended to make democratic institutions work better and bring democracy closer to the will of the people.

The co-ordinators
Philippe C. Schmitter has been professor in the Departments of Political Science at the University of Chicago, the European University Institute in Italy and Stanford University in California. He has also held visiting professorships at the Universities of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Harvard, Paris-I, Geneva, Mannheim, and Zurich as well as research positions in both Europe and South America. His current work is on the emerging Euro-polity and on the possibility of post-liberal democracy in western Europe and North America.
Alexander H. Trechsel is Vice-Director of the Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy and Director of the e-Democracy Centre at the University of Geneva. As of 2005 he will hold the Swiss Chair in Federalism and Democracy at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His research interests are e-democracy, direct democracy, federalism, European integration and political behaviour.