Press Releases European Partnership for Democracy : European leaders must match rhetoric on democracy with action, say experts

European Partnership for Democracy : European leaders must match rhetoric on democracy with action, say experts

European leaders must match rhetoric on democracy with action, say experts

BRUSSELS, 12 SEP 2019: More action must be taken to defend and support democracy in the EU and abroad, a diverse coalition of 40 non-profit organisations have told the EU leadership today, in a joint statement. Coinciding with International Day of Democracy, the democracy experts have put forward 5 policy recommendations for the EU institutions and member states on what they can do to support democracy around the world so their actions match their rhetoric.  As a founding value and guiding principle for external action enshrined in the treaties, the EU has long championed its support to pro-democratisation forces. Such support for democracy is increasingly relevant today, in the face of a global trend of democratic stagnation and the increasing boldness of authoritarian regimes [such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and China]. According to research, democracy has been in decline for 13 consecutive years now, while additional research suggests that a third of the world’s population now live in countries where democracy is in retreat.

Yet there are a number of factors inhibiting effective EU action on democracy, such as the lack of a policy framework or a clear definition for democracy support. This is made worse by the fact that democracy is rarely prioritised in foreign policy by the EU and member states, which instead focus predominantly on short term interests of stability and migration management.

A large coalition of organisations have therefore joined forces to call on the EU to stand up for democracy, both internally and in external action. The list of action points include the development of a democracy support policy, the need to ambitiously prioritise democracy issues in foreign policy, and enhanced coordination on democracy issues across and within the different EU institutions.

Now is a critical time for the EU to stand up for democracy, the signatories said in their declaration. Ken Godfrey, Executive Director of EPD explains: “Democracy cannot be taken for granted – a fact Europe has learned the hard way in recent years. The new European Commission and Parliament will need to renew and strengthen the way it defends and supports democracy, not just out of commitment to the treaties, but for the long-term interest in stability and prosperity of the Union.”

The 5 recommendations and the full list of signatories can be found on from 15 September 2019 onwards. In the meanwhile, you can already find the joint statement here:


About The European Partnership for Democracy (EPD)

The European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) is a non-profit organisation supporting democracy worldwide. It comprises fifteen European civil and political society organisations from thirteen European countries present in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

Located at the heart of the EU district in Brussels, EPD is the European democracy support network. Through innovation and collaboration, EPD facilitates the exchange of knowledge and good practice around the world, while advocating for a stronger presence of democracy support on the European Union’s agenda.

Press Contact:

Ruth-Marie Henckes  Advocacy and Communications Officer, EPD +32 2 733 22 82      

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