Between the risk of disintegration and proposals for reform, Europe today is navigating through murky waters. Democratic representation is confronted to a crisis of legitimacy and a claim for accountability.
Civil freedoms and Human rights are downsized in the name of security, as if the later implies sacrificing the formers.Regressive policies in terms of democracy and social cohesion strengthen regressive forces. European founding values are threatened by lack of ambitious policies, while nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric strikes back as a boomerang.
To break this vicious circle, the EU must answer some crucial questions: What means equality and solidarity for a quarter of Europeans facing poverty and social exclusion? What means inclusive societies when addressing the consequences of migrations from countries hit by war, poverty and dictatorship? How to build a more democratic Europe where social and environmental rights come before the economic interests of a few? How to combine political will, legal instruments and action through civil society to safeguard democratic values and translate them into concrete policies?
This kick-off event paves the way to our #MEGA campaign in the run up to the European elections, aimed to feed the public debate and address those questions with political leaders and institutions responsible for tracing Europe’s future. Putting democracy and civic participation at the core of the debate on Europe’s future, we will engage with civic actors all across Europe empowering them to speak better and louder to promote openness and tolerance, transmit the democratic values that guide their work, combat Euroscepticism and demystify xenophobic and nationalist narratives.
We are deeply concerned that the space for civil society to voice criticism and hold ruling authorities to account in shrinking all across Europe, alongside legislative acts meant to silence down NGOs seen as opponents or ‘foreign agents’, government control over distribution of funds, cuts in public funding for NGOs or disproportionate anti-terrorist or money laundering measures affecting the freedoms of assembly and association.
After the launch of Civic Space Watch, a collaborative tool to monitor and share resources on civic space in Europe, our #MEGA campaign will engage civic actors across Europe to stand better and louder for democratic values, openness and tolerance, empowering citizens to become politically aware, active and responsible, undertaking actions of solidarity and contributing to building a democratic political culture to withstand the anti-European, xenophobic, nationalistic and authoritarian trends
Check out the complete programme and the list of speakers here