The Secretary -General with Mr Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation in Luxembourg. Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg.
During the first weeks of May, Secretary-General Yves Leterme took part in several high-level events in Belgium, Portugal and Luxembourg on the topics of populism, migration and the challenges to democracy.
On 2-3 May 2018, Secretary-General Leterme travelled to Brussels to participate in the Laeken Dialogue, an initiative hosted by the King of Belgium, which brought together high-level policy makers and business leaders from Asia, Europe and the United States. Leterme was part of the panel on nationalism and populism, where he discussed the root causes of these phenomena as well as possible ways to address them. He emphasized the need for innovation of political parties, inclusion of citizens in democratic processes and a focus on combatting disinformation and fake news. In the margins of the conference, the Secretary-General took the opportunity to have bilateral meetings with government officials in order to strengthen existing partnerships with International IDEA.
Later that week, Leterme was in Portugal to attend the Horasis Global Meeting 2018, where he delivered a keynote speech on modelling sustainable migration. The Secretary-General stressed the fact that according to recent research conducted by International IDEA, political participation of migrants is a crucial factor of integration and is part of a wider picture of rights and responsibilities which can ensure that societies can deal with the increased influx of migrants in a sustainable way.
Finally, the Secretary-General was invited to address the Parliament of Luxembourg on Europe Day to present the work of International IDEA and discuss the current challenges and opportunities for democracy. Leterme stressed the fact that although democracy is currently at a critical juncture and faces numerous threats, it also made considerable leaps forward in the past decades. He also took the opportunity to discuss the potential future partnerships between International IDEA and Luxembourg in a bilateral meeting with Development Cooperation Minister Schneider.