Newsletter N°21 - May 2021
History in the Making – again!
Thirty years ago, the end of the Cold War inspired active citizens in many countries to take charge. Not only in Europe many constitutions were rewritten and new tools of participatory and direct democracy were introduced. Modern representative democracy was rethought and renewed from scratch.
In Europe, my home continent, I had the privilege to become part of a transnational network called “eurotopia”, which gathered more than 20 times in person – this was before the internet and before Corona... – and developed an agenda for a more democratic Europe including a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) and pan-european popular votes on specific issues.
Twenty years ago, we were – for the first time as a new network under the name Democracy International – able to organize and gather enough good and forward-looking forces during the European Convention for the Future of Europe to get an agreement on the introduction of the ECI. After another ten years (and the formal establishment of Democracy International as an association in 2011) the ECI was formally introduced. It has since then changed the understanding of the role of citizens in the EU political process in a fundamental way.
And now, in this very critical momentum of a global pandemic, we are all invited to look forward and to make our voices heard again. With Democracy International, we are gathered in a strong and global alliance of democracy supporters – and have become an essential stakeholder in the making of democratic history, both in Europe and worldwide. While we are now developing new inputs to strengthen participatory and direct democracy at the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe, we are also at the forefront of a global campaign for the introduction of a World Citizens Initiative (UNWCI), the very first tool of participatory and direct democracy at the global level.
In this Newsletter you find updates and briefing on these important and timely transnational initiatives but also outlooks to the state of freedom of expression and the forthcoming nationwide initiatives and referendums in Switzerland. Let´s continue to make history – together!
Board Member, Democracy International