Workshop 1: Multilevel sustainable democracy in Europe

Monday, 1st March 2021, 14:30–16:30

Organised by the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)International Association Rurality-Environment-Development (R.E.D.) and the EESC Ad hoc Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law


14:30-14:30 Welcoming, introduction and opening remarks

  • Flavio Grazian, Participatory Democracy Manager, European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)

14:40-16:00 Panel: Promoting democracy at different levels and in the digital era

Moderator: Katrīna Idū, President Forum Synergies


  • Cristian Pîrvulescu, President of the FRRL Group, European Economic and Social Committee
  • Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General, European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA)
  • Ken Godfrey, Executive Director, European Partnership for Democracy (EPD)
  • Esther Nass, Director EU Affairs, Civocracy
  • Yves Dejaeghere, Executive Director, Federation for Innovation in Democracy Europe (FIDE)

16:00-16:25 Q&A with the audience

16:25-16:30 Closing remarks:

  • Flavio Grazian, Participatory Democracy Manager, European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)
  •  Lisy Piter, Project Manager, European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA)


Concept note

Over the past few years, the surge in populism and disinformation across Europe has borne witness to citizens' disengagement from and loss of trust in the governing institutions. In order to fight against the rise in extreme votes, and to breathe new life into citizen participation it is crucial to reconnect the political and institutional sphere to the citizens. In this process, digital democracy, through all its different challenges and opportunities, plays a fundamental role in the link between EU citizens and their engagement.

The discussion will focus on the different initiatives that promote democracy at all levels: local and national, rural and urban, online and offline. This holistic approach is vital to the wellbeing of democracy, as inclusion of and engagement with all citizens is key in countering populist trends. Furthermore, the workshop will explore the different elements that are important in order to ensure sustainable democracy in the digital era. While digital technologies represent a great opportunity to foster citizens' engagement with democratic processes, they also influence the way in which citizens access information that could shape their ideas in the public sphere. The panel will explore the potential of participatory mechanisms in reconnecting citizens to the political sphere as well as considering the obstacles that hamper the possibility for citizens to actively participate in political life.

Work organisation