Regional Europe

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Active citizenship and political movements in Europe

Modern politics has seen a renewed discussion about the balance between active political participation by the citizens and their representation in politics. Much of this debate centers on a dilemma: too much citizen participation is unsustainable, while too little participation creates a gap between citizens and their elected governments. 

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The problems facing democracy in Europe today include low levels of public participation and low support for political representation. Many citizens lack trust in government or political parties, but at the same time take part in large protests demanding responsive and accountable government. Recent developments have rapidly increased the demand for International IDEA’s support by actors across the region.

At its liaison office to the EU, International IDEA represents our country programmes around the globe and our knowledge resources on democracy before EU institutions. Our goal is to impact their decision-making, to restore faith in democratic institutions, and address the question of how to recapture the energy of our young citizens. As countries in the East, from Ukraine to Moldova, experience significant democratic challenges, we also work to provide expertise and technical support to their reforms. Lastly, we convene democratic institutions from EU member states to exchange approaches to democratic innovations, such as cybersecurity in elections or the use of ICT by political parties.

 

What's Going On

Feb
12
2019
From left to right: Siegfried Bracke, Andreas Norlén, Kristien Van Vaerenbergh, Jacques Brotchi, Yves Leterme.  Image credit: International IDEA

From left to right: Siegfried Bracke, Andreas Norlén, Kristien Van Vaerenbergh, Jacques Brotchi, Yves Leterme. Image credit: International IDEA

News Article
Jan
21
2019
Image credit: PSIA

Image credit: PSIA

Event

Databases & Tools

Country & Regional Support

Ukraine

Since 2015, International IDEA has initiated multiple projects in Ukraine that aim to support democratic consolidation. To fill a knowledge gap, it has provided research translated into Ukrainian and Russian, including on the functioning of semi-presidential governments, money in politics and design of electoral management bodies. International IDEA has further facilitated knowledge sharing in Ukraine through its work with national civic groups, female leaders and young politicians on how to increase public engagement using ICT.

International IDEA also gives technical advice for combating political corruption. Lastly, the Europe Programme has conducted a range of assessments of the State of Local Democracy in Ukraine. This especially focuses on mid-sized cities, where past conflicts between mayors and city councils have hampered effective functioning of democracy at the local level.

 

Georgia

Georgia is considered a positive case of democratic development, in which International IDEA has been involved from as far back as the early 2000s . Its democratic reforms, functioning democratic institutions, and peaceful electoral transitions of the past years constitute an exemplary model of democratic developments among new democracies in Eastern Europe. With positive record of reforms in the past, the country continues to face challenges in consolidating and deepening its democratic processes.

Over the past years, International IDEA’s focus in Georgia has been on the area of Money in Politics, as well as citizen participation in politics. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, IDEA jointly organised conferences on Money in Politics, drawing attention to the issue and helping to create a regional peer network and increase collaboration on political finance. It has also worked with Georgian actors such as the State Audit Office, the Central Elections Commission and local civil society. At the end of 2016, Georgia launched an online reporting and disclosure system for political party donations , to which International IDEA has contributed with international comparative knowledge.

 

Moldova

After several large corruption scandals hit Moldova in past years, the country has undergone turbulent political developments. Citizen protests, a dynamic and engaged civil society and international pressure have helped intensify reforms in the past few years, including in increasing the integrity of electoral processes, and mitigating the negative role of money in politics.

Since mid-2015, International IDEA has engaged in Moldovan democratic reform and institutional strengthening. The institute has carried out assessments of the current state of local democracy, using its long-standing tested tools in this field. Together with the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training and the Central Electoral Commission, it has worked on enhancing political finance oversight. In 2018, IDEA launched the Level Up: Political Finance with Integrity project, which aims to improve the regulatory framework for political finance in Moldova.

 

Regional initiatives

The work of International IDEA supports the goals of the European Union to protect and advance democracy and human rights both within and outside its borders. Regional initiatives provide an avenue to facilitate knowledge exchange both across Europe and globally. Across Europe and beyond, cyber security in elections, strengthening political parties, and increasing civic participation (particularly among the youth) emerge as major issues to address.

International IDEA organises regional events across Europe to facilitate knowledge sharing among experts and aid in engaging the citizenship. Events on cybersecurity included various expert roundtables in 2017 and 2018 on addressing hacking in elections, involving electoral commissions, cybersecurity agencies and independent experts. Regarding political parties, IDEA organised events in 2017 and 2018 on solutions for strengthening parties and improving connections between European political parties and their citizens. To feed these discussions, in 2018 it published a series of primers on the topics of digital microtargeting, online political crowdfunding, and collaboration between citizen movements and political parties. To help in engaging citizens, IDEA organised a symposium on inclusive governance in 2018, which discussed solutions for intergenerational dialogue and declining voter participation.

Networks & Partners

Carnegie Europe
Centre of Policy and Legal Reform
Centrul de Instruire Continuă în Domeniul Electoral
Club de Madrid
Council of Europe
Council of the European Union
European Commission
European Endowment for Democracy
European External Action Service
European Network of Political Foundations
European Parliament
European Partnership for Democracy
European Union
European Youth Forum
Friends of Europe
Group of States against Corruption
Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) Viitorul
International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
State Audit Office of Georgia
Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC)
UNU-CRIS
Venice Commission

Contact Our Offices

The Netherlands

Passage 31

NL-2511 AB

The Hague

About Sam Van der Staak 

+31-70-3028230
Sam Van der Staak
Head of Programme, Regional Europe
Belgium

Avenue des Arts 41 (1st floor)
1040 Brussels
Belgium

About Sam Van der Staak 

+32 (0) 2 511 0894
Sam van der Staak
Head of Programme, Regional Europe
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