The European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) was created in 2008 by EU members states and non-for-profit organisations keen to solidify European support for democracy abroad. Yet much has changed since the late 2000s both in terms of the policy environment inside Europe and the changing nature of political systems around the world.
As a result, EPD and its members are conducting a participatory review of European democracy support over the course of 2018-2019. The review will focus on the policies of practitioner organisations, the European Union and European governments in order to draw lessons for the future. The key questions are:
How successful has European democracy support been until now?
How to consolidate and enhance European democracy support today?
What key features could a new democracy support policy be built upon?
2019: NOW IS THE TIME
2019 marks the 10th anniversary of EU Agenda for Action on Democracy Support. In the same year there will be European Parliament elections and a new EU budget (post-2020). At the same time, democracy is being challenged worldwide. In other words, now is the time for action.
There are numerous studies of the state of democracy and evaluations of individual programme, but very little in between.
A final paper will be published on the basis of the conclusions from the participatory review. This will offer important insights for the European democracy support community.
EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY SUPPORT
The EU Agenda for Action on Democracy Support in the EU’s External Relations was agreed by EU MS on 17 November 2018. It marked the real beginning of what one might call a coordinated policy attempt at EU democracy support. Since that moment the EU has embarked on a series of policy initiatives and programmes designed to create a comprehensive and mainstreamed approach to democracy support. This includes two generations of the democracy pilot exercise, two EU Action Plans on Human Rights and Democracy, Communications on civil society, development and the new EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy.
- Article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty;
- The Council Conclusions on Democracy Support in EU External Relations of 2009, in particular the six principles of EU democracy support;
- The EU Strategic Framework and the second Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019);
- The Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy;
- the New European Consensus on Development agreed upon in 2017;
- The Communication “The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations”;
- The current Multiannual Indicative Programme (2014-2020) of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, in particular Specific Objective 3: Support to Democracy, and;
- The 2015 European Neighbourhood Policy, which is of crucial importance for the EU’s democracy support agenda.