For more than a decade, a majority of Europe’s established democracies have seen the quality of their democracies stagnate—or even decline—rather than improve. Some show the clear erosion of democratic processes and fundamental rights; several have deteriorated to the point where they can hardly be qualified as democracies any longer. The arrival of the Covid-19 global health crisis has added to the strain. With sufficient democratic safeguards still in place, it is likely that the continent’s consolidated democracies will emerge largely intact from the pandemic.

This Report provides lessons and recommendations that governments, political and civic actors, and international democracy assistance providers should consider in order to counter the concerning trends in the erosion of democracy, and to foster its resilience and deepening.

International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy Reports review the state of democracy around the world. Access the digital version to download PDFs or read online. The 2021 edition covers developments in 2020 and 2021, with democratic trends since 2015 used as a contextual reference. This report has on Europe is one of four regional reports that provide more in-depth analysis of trends and developments in Africa and the Middle East; the Americas; and Asia and the Pacific; which along with the Global Report complement and cross-reference each other. There are also three thematic papers that allow more in-depth analysis and recommendations on how to manage electoral processes and emergency law responses, and how democracies and non-democracies fared based on lessons learned from the pandemic. The reports draw on data from the Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices and lessons learned from International IDEA’s on-the ground technical assistance to understand the current democracy landscape. The 2021 reports also draw heavily on data collected by International IDEA’s Global Monitor of Covid-19’s Impact on Democracy and Human Rights.

A summary of global and regional key facts and findings is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.


Publication date
22 November 2021
Number of pages
978-91-7671-485-0 (PDF)
978-91-7671-489-8 (Print)


About the report


1. Key facts and findings

2. Overview of key trends

3. Representative Government

4. Fundamental Rights

5. Checks on Government

6. Participatory Engagement

7. Conclusion

8. Policy recommendations

Give us feedback

Do you have a question or feedback about this publication? Leave us your feedback, and we’ll get back to you

Send feedback

The State of Democracy in Europe 2021

Overcoming the Impact of the Pandemic
Total views 2787
Downloads 0
Close tooltip