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In a year marked by widespread unrest and challenges to democratic norms around the world, our annual conference will focus on the fight to improve our democracies and to support democrats around the world. Join us in Brussels for debates and discussions and to celebrate our 15th year anniversary.

Democracy continuously undergoes change and adaptation in response to evolving societal needs and challenges. It should never be taken for granted and requires constant work to ensure a functioning system of government that serves the interests of its people. We encourage you to join us Tuesday, 20th of June at EPD’s 2023 annual conference, where we can work together to explore new and better initiatives, tools, and policy to better support democratic governance, human rights and the rule of law.


09:00 – 09:30 Open breakfast 🥐

Welcome by EPD’s Executive Director, Ken Godfrey

09:30 - 10:45

Session 1: From Russia with Lessons: Democratic Values as a Key Foreign Policy Interest

Assessing the risks that autocracies pose to European security and development policies, and how to counter them with democratic value.


  • Michael Meyer-Resende
  • Belén Martinez Carbonell


  • Thijs Berman

Session style: Panel

10:45 – 11:00 Coffee break

11:00 - 12:15
Session 2

Knocking on the EU's door: Fundamentals first, or geostrategic investment?

A discussion on the tension between values and geopolitical priorities in EU enlargement.


Coming soon

Session style: Panel debate


Session 3

Big budgets in the grey zone

Looking at how to use development aid more effectively in hybrid regimes.

Speakers: Nic Cheeseman, Pierre-Arnaud Barthel and Alexandra Kurth

Moderator: Sergio Rodrígez Prieto

Session style: Moderated discussion

Session 4

Beyond tokenism: addressing the challenge of diversity in democracy


Discussing the ways to avoid token efforts at ensuring inclusion.

Speaker: Aisha Dabo

More coming soon

Session style: World Cafe


12:15 – 13:45 Lunch 🍽️

13:45 - 15:00
Session 5

S4D3: What role for European actors and is it worth it?

An open discussion on the role European actors should play in the S4D process moving forward.


Anthony Smith and Julia Keutgen

Session style: Moderated discussion

Session 6

Show me the money: new democracy aid data

Presentation and discussion of new democracy aid data.


Evelyn Mantoiu and Thomas Millar

Session style: Moderated discussion with intro presentation

Session 7

A better digital world in 2030

Exploring avenues to democratise the digital sphere over the next few years.


Coming soon

Session style: Panel debate

15:00 – 15:15 Coffee break

15:15 - 16:30

Session 8: New initiatives for democratic participation in Europe


  • Alberto Allemanno
  • Antonella Valmorbida

Session style: Panel

16:30 – 16:45 Coffee break

16:45 - 18:00

Session 9: Understanding the Defence of Democracy Package


  • Linda Ravo

Session style: Panel

18:00 – ? Networking drinks🍹 (Comet rooftop)

Annual Conference 2022
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