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What is the purpose of this campaign EPD is launching today, on the celebration of the International Day for Democracy?

For me it constitutes an opportunity to show that Europeans have the will and the elements to share with their partners. It will allow concentrating on how people experiencing democratic transition and transformation, and struggling with those complex processes can be supported and assisted by others. We need to go concrete and depart from the traditional theoretical discourse related to “what is Democracy”. Asking practitioners from all around the world about their success stories, tools and methodologies used in different contexts will help achieve this. This is the very essence of a community of practice like EPD.

Why such a long campaign?

It is not an action, which will last just one day and then wait for another year. It will rather continue for several months to make it coincide with the current strategic process the EU is leading and part of the implementation of the Council conclusions 2009 on Democracy assistance in EU external relations. By doing so we want to both show that it takes time to build democracy, and show our support to the current process initiated by the EU. We will use those ideas gathered from the practitioners, as well as the comments received through the social media, to strengthen our recommendations related to the implementation of the EU strategy on Human Rights and Democracy.

What is then for you the added value of Europeans when assisting other in their transition ad transformation process?

We clearly have the opportunity to provide 28 different experiences of transformation over a large period, which are evolving in a rich variety of cultural, social and historical environments.

The EU as such, is also an interesting example of how difficult it is to respect democratic principles and have the voice of all participants of the society heard and their interests and opinions respected. I don’t think Europeans want to say “we have THE solution”, which would be contrary to the values of many of us, but rather “we have been through those times too, we have found some difficulties, made errors, obtained successes, and those could be useful for you to consider when you will have to make difficult choices”.

The value resides also in this experience of dialogue among several stakeholders which is happening since the very launch of the EU project, and which is at the heart of a genuine democracy.  Sharing the lessons we have learned over the years and in those various contexts provide a large portfolio of case studies and options for our partner countries.

What do you expect from this campaign?

That colleagues around the world will be as enthusiastic as our partners from the community of practice with this campaign, and share their ideas and lessons learned. That policy makers, experts and beneficiaries in the field will clearly realise there are many ways of advancing democracy, and understand the value of knowledge/experience sharing and collaboration. Because successes and mistakes from the past can help design the choices of the future.

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