What is ECOD?
There’s a European Capital for – almost! – everything. But why not Democracy? It definitely needs the attention and stage light, wouldn’t you agree? This thought, shared by Josef Lentsch on a cab ride in Berlin 2019, was the birth hour of our ambitious initiative.
Now, it has become a reality. A European Capital of Democracy is designated every year, starting with Barcelona in 2023 – as a Europe-wide initiative for strengthening democracy. New cities over 100,000 inhabitants within the Council of Europe member states and Kosovo can join here until April 2023.
In cooperation with civil society and citizens, the title-holding city curates, organises, and implements a wide range of activities and events. Visitors from all over Europe are invited to observe and to participate in these efforts.
In 2022, 22 cities from 11 countries applied for the nomination to become the first European Capital of Democracy (ECoD). Thirteen of them submitted a full application and are members of the ECoD City Network.
Democracy is our safest bet to protect our planet, restore peace, and secure a safe and prosperous future for us and our children. Become a Citizens’ Juror now and play a crucial role in strengthening and securing Europe’s democratic future!
Vision & Mission
We aim to establish a highly visible space where the citizens of Europe come together, get involved, experience new forms of participatory and inclusive democracy in action and draw inspiration from a comprehensive programme designed to bring democracy forward and build or rebuild trust. Best democratic practice will shine under the media spotlight.
In cooperation with civil society and citizens, we strengthen democracy, act as a catalyst for democratic development, provide space for democratic innovation and exchange, and showcase groundbreaking work to improve politics. All that in order to experience new forms of participatory and inclusive democracy in action and to draw inspiration – across borders and beyond party lines.
Our Core Values
What ECoD focuses on
Community projects contribute to remarkable services, protecting the city’s inhabitants from harm by future-oriented policies and long-term planning.
Participation projects provide the city’s inhabitants with access to a range of tools to become an active part in decision-making processes.
Rapidly developing technology will profoundly shape the future of democracy. The opportunities presented by digitisation are infinite and so are the challenges it poses.
Empowerment projects enable the city to establish and maintain strong partnerships with civil society, academia and other relevant stakeholders.
Sustainability projects aim to foster an international discourse, supporting citizens and other cities in ensuring that radical climate transformation is a democratic, and not just a technocratic process.
Voices for democracy
We would like to thank all who have met our European Capital of Democracy initiative with enthusiasm and joined us in our efforts to make it real. They are politicians, political scientists, scholars, representatives of civil society and the business world, artists, engaged youths, and last not least our team. They all share fundamental democratic values and are committed to defending and supporting them.
“At this time of extraordinary difficulty and certainty, seeing this initiative taking shape and reaffirming the crucial role of our cities as strongholds and laboratories of democracy is reassuring and promising.”
Vice-President of the European Commission
Marija Pejčinović Burić
“European Capital of Democracy will provide the double benefit of highlighting democratic initiatives and providing the catalyst for more as cities compete to hold the title – and then reap the benefits that come with holding it.”
Secretary General of the Council of Europe