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Vienna kickstarts the European Capital of Democracy initiative

Much like being designated European Capital of Culture, starting in 2021, one European city will be chosen as an inspiration for the future of democracy

  • pátek 18. září 2020 11:30
  • Author Anton Stoyanov
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Starting in 2021, the European Capital of Democracy Initiative will designate one European city to serve as a stage and inspiration for the future of democracy. The initiative’s official launch is taking place today, in Austria’s Vienna. Unfortunately, due to local anti-COVID-19 measures, no physical opening event will be held - instead, it will be going digital with a number of high-profile events and discussions.

Promoting democracy on a local and civic level

According to the organisers, the European Capital of Democracy resembles the European Capital of Culture, in the sense that each year, a different European city will bear the torch of promoting democracy and democratic values. The winning city will work alongside citizens and civil society organisations in order to implement their programmes and activities meant to promote and strengthen democracy.

Any city that wishes to become European Capital of Democracy must first present a self-evaluation of their own democratic track-record as well as a long-term programme for strengthening its local democracy. The submissions will then be reviewed by experts and shortlisted cities will be put forward to a vote by a panel of 10,000 citizens.

The initiative is the brainchild of the Innovation in Politics Institute, based in Vienna and Berlin which boasts partners in over 14 other countries. Supporters of the European Capital of Democracy initiative include local politicians such as the mayor of Bratislava Matus Vallo and the mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova, as well as former heads of state like ex-president of Austria Heinz Fischer and the former president of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev. 

The launch date, 18 September, will feature many discussions and online presentations by prominent public figures and politicians and will highlight the initiative’s goals and its objectives.



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