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The State of European Democracy and Strategies for Civil Society Action
Torsdag 27 Februar 2020, 12:30 - 16:30

Arranged by

Nyt Europa

+45 60 56 69 51



Christiansborg, Mødecenter I Provianthuset, 1218 København


The EU’s common values for democracy were ratified in the Copenhagen criteria of 1993 and the 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights. With the enlargement of 2004, the path to a common democratic Europe was paved just 15 years after the fall of communism in a number of Eastern European countries.


However, in recent years democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights have come under pressure. The question that arises is: what tools do we have for securing democracy now and in future in the European cooperation?


With this conference we focus on how democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law in European cooperation, at the beginning of a new decade are aligned.


Through academic presentations and workshops, we will explore how organized civil society can work together at European level and play a role in strengthening European democracy.


The conference is the first of a number of initiatives which Nyt Europa will coordinate with this purpose. The initiatives are aimed at promoting cross-border  cooperation between civil society organizations as well as ensuring that national parliaments and the EU take into account the role of civil society in continuing to secure democracy in Europe.


The conference offers professional presentations on the relationship between the rule of law, democracy and civil society since 1989, workshops with presentations from a number of European civil society actors as well as discussion with politicians from Europa-udvalget.


Part 1 - 12.30-13.45: Academic presentations

  • Welcome by Nyt Europa (Steen Gade).
  • Marlene Wind (KU): The Rule of Law and Democracy 1989 to the present.
  • Søren Riishøj (SDU): The role of civil society in the democratic transition in Eastern Europe in the 1990s.
  • Maj Grasten (CBS): The intersection of institutions, civil society and popular movements.


13.45-14.00: Pause


Part 2 - 14.00-15.45: Workshops

  • Shrinking civic space: what counter strategies can civil society actors mobilize?
    (Vladimir Sestovic, European Civic Forum (FR) and Sara Brandt Globalt Fokus (DK)).
  • Attitudes towards democracy among European citizens: How can a long-lasting trust in democratic values be
    ensured? (Filip Pazderski, Polish Institute of Public Affairs (PL) and Elise Bangert (Amnesty)).
  • Solidarity between civil society actors across borders in Europe
    (Christina Nuhr, Mit Ost (DE)).
  • Is participatory democracy the way forward? New pathways for our European democracy
    (Jakob Erle, Nyt Europa & DUF (DK)).


A priority of workshops must be chosen.


Part 3 - 15.45-16.30: Collection & Comments

  • Collection of workshop insights.
  • Comments by members of Europa-udvalget.
  • Rounding off and the framework for continued cooperation (Nyt Europa).


(Register before 13/2 at 12:00)


Read more about the History of Optimism project at