Frequently asked questions
This Call is open to Cities with a population of over 100,000 within the member states of the Council of Europe enjoying full rights of representation (currently Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom), and Kosovo.
A local administrative unit with forms of legal self-determination and budgetary autonomy and an elected or democratically appointed executive leadership, including metropolitan areas and conurbations. Special cases need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
When applying for the ECoD title, cities are joining the ECoD City Network to strengthen deliberative and participatory democracy in Europe. By applying for the ECoD title, Cities will share their most innovative best practice and expertise. All cities joining the European Capital of Democracy network profit from mutual exchange of knowledge and experience, access to international expertise and cooperation. Member Cities share their experiences and best practices in the most relevant fields of democracy and participation, inspiring each other and multiplying the reach and impact of their innovative projects. Cooperation with universities and think tanks carrying out research into democratic activities and projects is fostered under the umbrella of the initiative.
All cities joining the European Capital of Democracy network will profit from mutual exchange of knowledge and experience, access to international expertise and cooperation. Member Cities share their experiences and best practices in the most relevant fields of democracy and participation, inspiring each other and multiplying the reach and impact of their innovative projects. Cooperation with universities and think tanks carrying out research into democratic activities and projects is fostered under the umbrella of the initiative.
A City holding this title will enjoy a wide range of benefits, such as an enhanced international reputation as a centre of education and innovation, the chance to host international events and meetings of leading European politicians, and of course a boost to civic pride. The media coverage will focus on democratic best practice.
ECoD gemeinnützige GmbH will complement the City’s Projects with established events like the Innovation in Politics Awards, the ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference, and more, which will guarantee international attention, additional visitors and a Europe-wide impact. Formats like the Art of Democracy or Truth, Lies & Democracy are adapted with local partners for the Programme Year of each title-holding city.
If your City is eligible to participate in the Call (see ‘Which Cities are covered by the ECoD Call?’) and doesn’t have scheduled elections (relevant for the City Council, administration or Mayor) from September 2024 to September 2025, you need to complete a Democracy and Prerequisites self-evaluation (see ECoD Call Document). The ECoD team will assess how well the City’s infrastructure can cope with set maximum visitor numbers with respect to transportation and accommodation during given time frames.
This Call is open to Cities with a population of over 100,000. In individual cases worthy of special consideration, ECoD NPO may also admit cities with a population of just under 100,000 to the Call.
In the first phase, the Declaration of Intent has to be signed by the highest City representative, including online self-evaluations of the technical, organisational and democracy prerequisites, to be submitted by 30 April 2023. In the second phase, after the pre-screening by the ECoD NPO, the submission of a mission statement, including an executive summary, current and completed projects and project ideas (in a predefined form and structure) has to be completed by 30 June 2023. Additionally, a City Council resolution (or similar) for participating in the ECoD Call has to be adopted, and a contact person or office as well as a project team established.
Yes, taking care of people in need and citizens fleeing the Ukrainian war is without doubt understood as a democracy project, covered by the Dimensions of Democracy. Initiating such support in the short-term shows the high level of the city’s resilience, engagement for human rights and social cohesion.
Deadline Milestone February 2023 ECoD Call opens April 2023 Declaration of Intent phase for Interested Cities ends June 2023 Interested Cities complete their submission for the ECoD Call July to October 2023 Experts’ Jury evaluates Call submissions and visits the most outstanding contenders November 2023 Experts’ Jury presents the Shortlist of Nominee Cities December 2023 Citizens’ Jury reviews Shortlist and selects the European Capital of Democracy December 2023 European Capital of Democracy 2024/25 is announced in a joint press conference January-August 2024 The Programme Year is prepared, coordinated by a Steering Group Sept/Oct 2024 Opening ceremony of the second European Capital of Democracy
The Application phase lasts from February to June 2023, with Declarations of Intent ending on 30 April and full applications to be submitted by 30 June 2023. The next call for applications will open in February 2025.
Your Call application has to be submitted until the end of September. After receiving your submission, ECoD NPO will check the formal correctness and completeness of the submission. From October to November, the Experts´Jury will evaluate your submission and decide whether your City is going to be a Nominee City.
That depends on which phase of the process your City is in. After submitting your Declaration of Intent you will be notified by 30 April 2023 at the latest whether you are eligible to enter the Application phase. You can find the current timeline on our website.
For further information or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via the contact form.
The European Capital of Democracy is a Europe-wide initiative of ECoD gemeinnützige GmbH (ECoD NPO), a non-profit limited liability company established under Austrian Federal Law and registered under FN 568933t in the Commercial Register of the Commercial Court of Vienna, supported by The Innovation in Politics Institute GmbH.
We are publishing a newsletter, keeping you informed about news and updates related to the European Capital of Democracy. You can subscribe to it on our website.
Only the current and completed democracy projects as laid out in the City’s Call submission have to be financed, organised and implemented by the City.
The European Capital of Democracy Initiative is run by ECoD gemeinnützige GmbH (ECoD NPO). This non-profit organisation was founded by The Innovation in Politics Institute GmbH. The necessary financial resources are raised through income from business activities (especially events, consulting and other services), subsidies from public institutions as well as private individuals, income from sponsoring, donations and other contributions.
The Experts’ Jury Members are:
- Jamie Just – CCRE/CEMR
- Bruno Kaufmann – Democracy International
- Robert Krimmer – Skytte Institute at University of Tartu
- Amina Krvavac – Child Warhood Museum
- Antonella Valmorbida – ALDA Europe / European Partnership for Democracy
European Capital in Democracy has been designed to provide a level playing field for all Cities over 100,000 inhabitants, asking for a minimum of resources while offering a maximum of benefits. There is no membership fee, only the commitment of a certain level of involvement (time) and resources for the presentation of the City’s own democracy projects. As for the application process, we estimate 1-2 days for the Declaration of Intent until the end of April 2023 and 4-5 days in May and June 2023 for the Call submission. All member Cities are invited to join activities of and contribute to the ECoD City Network with their expertise, which will convene physically three times a year for 1-2 days and have online meetings in between for exchange, collaboration, and capacity building. The designated European Capital of Democracy will be asked to participate in monthly Steering Board meetings between January and September 2024 to prepare the Programme Year. The two to four finalists might be invited to contribute. During the ECoD Programme Year in the title-holding City, representatives of all member Cities can present themselves and their democracy projects in various events and formats. The level of involvement is up to each City.
All Cities that have successfully completed their Declaration of Intent by April 2023 and have provided a complete ECoD application as defined in the Call document (including mission statement, democracy projects and project ideas) by June 2023 will be accepted as a member of the ECoD City Network. There must be no scheduled elections on the local, municipal or city level, directly affecting the Mayor and/or body entrusted with the resolution and implementation of European Capital of Democracy in the title-holding City during the Programme Year (September/October 2024 to September/October 2025). Cities with such elections between December 2023 and August 2024 will be subject to case-by-case assessment by the Experts’ Jury. The ECoD team is available to discuss the matter at any point in time, ideally as early as possible in the process.
The confidentiality clause means that the European Capital of Democracy NPO doesn’t announce the names of the cities after the Declaration of Intent has been submitted, but will only do so once the application has been submitted in full. Cities are free to publicly announce their participation in the ECoD initiative.