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ECoD survey & IDEA democracy report: Participation as 4th branch of Government

ECoD NPO Stefan Sindelar presented the results of this year’s Citizens’ Jury survey “Democracy = Peace (?) at the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy’s panel about “The 4th Branch of Government”. In sync with results of the recently published “Global State of Democracy 2023” survey by International IDEA, a resilient civic space and extensive citizen participation are seen as hope for democracies under pressure across the world.

Together with former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who had originally brought up the idea in the NYT, political visionary and Professor “AJB” Byong-Jin AHN from the Global Academy For Future Civilizations / Kyung Hee University in Korea, youth delegate Marilena-Valentina CIOBANU and Achilles Tsaltas from the Athens Democracy Forum. The session was moderated by Elina Makri.

This year’s ECoD Citizens’ Jury survey demonstrates that a significant majority of the population across the Council of Europe countries recognizes the pivotal role of democracy in promoting and preserving peace. Following recent criticism of the democratic peace theory, arguing that democracies are hesitant to engage in armed conflict with other identified democracies, we want to shed some light on the perceived interdependencies and relationship between democracy and peace.

Many of the respondents agree that the relationship between democracy and peace is strongly intertwined (46%), but not everyone agrees they are necessarily inseparable (47%). The factors identified by the respondents fostering or threatening peace are manifold, with a lack of democracy seen as critical accelerant – and Civic Participation as a necessary precondition for peaceful societies.

Alexis Prokopiev, Director of Governance and Democratic Innovation at Make.org, and Antonio Argenziano, President of JEF Europe, presented the #EurHope initiative, a strong initaitive aimed at youth engagement connecting offline and online: mobilising citizens both on the ground and, even more massively, online through the consultation.”

As George Papandreou, currently Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, put it: “Democracy is a way to solve problems through dialogue: we know that we have strong differences but we have decided to collectively solve the problems we face.”

Further information:

– The “Democracy = Peace (?)” survey results are available here.
– The replay of the Panel on the “4th branch of Government” is available here.
– International IDEAS’s has published the 2023 edition of its yearly “Global State of Democracy” report.

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