Democratic trends and challenges are broadly common to many European and other countries: intensification of bottom-up citizens’ activism, disillusionment of public opinion with the ability of governments to deliver on their expectations and with elites perceived as distant from people’s concerns, the difficult balance between long-term gain and short-term pain and the considerable growth of economic inequalities within European societies. These trends pose questions that entail far-reaching challenges, but also opportunities, for the future of democratic systems and politics in Europe.
Factors such as the Economic crisis and Globalization put an extra emphasis on the need for democratic update in the region. Moreover, the newly resumed geopolitical competition with Russia in Eastern Europe as well as the ever changing approaches and discrepancies over vicinity policies in the region are affecting democratic progress in non-European Union countries and even within the community. These and other equally important challenges for Democracy in the region, claim for not only just institutions, but also practices of democracy to be adapted to the ever-changing social and economic conditions and new technologies.
In this context and within framework of the Next Generation Democracy (NGD) project, Club de Madrid, in collaboration with International IDEA and FRIDE will host the “Wider Europe and Post-Soviet Eurasia Roundtable” in Stockholm, June 2-3. In these intense two days, members of the Club de Madrid together with international experts will identify a range of possible options to counter challenges to democracy and improve the efficiency, legitimacy and resilience of democratic systems in Europe that will shape the NGD Regional Agenda on Democracy for Europe.
Democratic challenges and solutions for the current state of affairs of the region will be discussed by the following Club de Madrid Members: former Swedish PM Carl Bildt, Philip Dimitrov from Bulgaria, Chancellor Alfred Gusembauer from Austria, Zlatko Lagumdzija from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Roza Otunbayeva from Kyrgyzstan, Iveta Radicova from Slovakia; Petre Roman from Romania, Danilo Turk from Slovenia and former Belgian PM and International IDEA Secretary-General Yves Leterme.
- The main objective of NGD Regional Roundtable is to identify key elements for the corresponding future Regional Agendas for Democracy.
- The Roundtable will also facilitate a cross-learning exercise among regions in order to fine-tune proposals to advance democracy. Those elements referring to trends and actions transcending regions, as well as those considered effective to advance democracy globally, will be incorporated into the future NGD Global Agenda.
Following the Roundtable, on June 4th the nine Club de Madrid Members will participate in an open dialogue at the headquarters of International IDEA in “A Conversation on Democracy: Crisis or Transformation?”. This debate will engage Club de Madrid Members with the audience in an exchange of views and experiences on the challenges and drivers of democracy in Europe. The program of this public event can be consulted here.
- Carl Bildt, Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994)
- Philip Dimitrov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (1991-1992)
- Alfred Gusenbauer, Chancellor of Austria (2007-2008)
- Zlatko Lagumdzija, Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-2002)
- Yves Letterme, Prime Minister of Belgium (2008, 2009-2011)
- Roza Otunbayeva, President of the Kyrgyz Republic (2010-2011)
- Iveta Radicova, Prime Minister Slovakia (2010-2012)
- Petre Roman, Prime Minister of Romania (1989-1991)
- Danilo Türk, President of Slovenia (2007-2012)