European democracy action plan

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Tuairim ó CESE: European democracy action plan

Key points

In December 2020, the European Commission (EC) presented the European Democracy Action Plan (EDAP), setting out measures in three areas: free and fair elections; media freedom; and disinformation.

The EESC:

  • welcomes the European Democracy Action Plan, which it views as both positive and necessary, and broadly supports the measures it proposed;
  • is concerned by attempts in several Member States to take advantage of the challenging situation created by COVID-19 in order to weaken the rule of law;
  • recommends that the EC create a specific pillar in the EDAP for the involvement of civil society and social partners and the promotion of labour democracy. Part 6 of the opinion proposes a model for such a Pillar on "Promoting active and democratic participation beyond elections";
  • considers that the promotion of democracy should involve the fostering of democratic participation at EU, national, regional and local levels, the involvement of civil society and of democracy in all its facets and areas, including labour democracy, among others.
  • regrets that the EDAP has failed to address the important role of the social contract, social dialogue and collective bargaining in reducing inequalities and encouraging Europeans to embrace democratic ideals.
  • believes that greater emphasis should be placed on civil dialogue, and reiterates its call for an annual Civil Society Forum on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (SOC/627).
  • believes that the EDAP should include a large-scale initiative to foster education on democracy and fundamental rights, in particular with regard to young people.
  • calls for the swift implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act.
  • calls on the European institutions to urgently act for the security and working conditions of journalists, including by addressing strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP).