Wider Europe


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. 


The problems facing democracy in Europe today include low levels of public participation and support for political parties as well as massive protests demanding responsive and accountable government accords the continent.

In the east, countries from Ukraine to Moldova are experiencing both large democratic challenges and rapid democratic reforms in response. In the established democracies of Central and Western Europe, large-scale citizen protests and decreasing citizen participation through traditional institutions are questioning the legitimacy of once stable democratic processes. These changes have rapidly increased the demand for our support by actors across the Wider Europe region.

What's Going On

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
Image credit: PSIA

Image credit: PSIA

Launch of State of Local Democracy assessment in Ukraine. Image credit: International IDEA

Launch of State of Local Democracy assessment in Ukraine. Image credit: International IDEA

Feature Story
Image credit: CICDE

International IDEA organized Moldova’s first round table dialogue on Third-Party Contributions in Political and Campaign Funding, together with the Center for Continuous Electoral Training. Image credit: CICDE

News Article
international IDEA presents at "Particularities of the Electoral Laws application in Parliamentary Elections" in Chisinau, Moldova. Image credit: Natalia Iuras, International IDEA

international IDEA presents at "Particularities of the Electoral Laws application in Parliamentary Elections" in Chisinau, Moldova. Image credit: Natalia Iuras, International IDEA


Databases & Tools

Country & Regional Support


Since 2015, International IDEA has initiated multiple projects in Ukraine that aim to support democratic consolidation. To fill a knowledge gap, it provided translations of some of its more well-known publications into Ukrainian and Russian, including on money in politics and design of electoral management bodies . At an early stage of constitution-reform process, the Institute shared knowledge with national civic groups on how to increase public engagement in the constitution-building process, and more recently, hosted discussions with national experts how to structure powers and relations between the three branches of government to enable effective functioning of semi-presidential governments.

International IDEA also gives technical advice for combating political corruption. Lastly, the Wider Europe Programme is conducting 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 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. It has 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.


After several large corruption scandals hit Moldova in the 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. Together with the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training and the Central Electoral Commission, it has worked on enhancing political finance oversight. International IDEA is also working to assess the current state of local democracy, using its long-standing tested tools in this field.

Regional initiatives

Regional initiatives provide an avenue to facilitate knowledge exchange both across Europe and globally. In 2016 and 2017, International IDEA co-organised the Regional Conference on Money in Politics in Central and Eastern Europe. This conference provided a regional follow-up to International IDEA´s Global Conference on Money and Politics, held in Mexico City in September 2015, thus placing a European discussion in a global context. Another topic that has affected democracies across Europe is cyber security in elections.

In 2017, International IDEA therefore brought together electoral commissions, cybersecurity agencies and independent experts to discuss how their countries are dealing with the phenomenon of hacking in elections .  

Networks & Partners

Centre of Policy and Legal Reform
Centrul de Instruire Continuă în Domeniul Electoral
Council of Europe
Council of the European Union
European Commission
European Endowment for Democracy
European External Action Service
European Parliament
European Union
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)
Venice Commission

Contact Our Office

The Netherlands

Passage 31

NL-2511 AB

The Hague

About Sam Van der Staak 

Sam Van der Staak
Senior Programme Manager