First Big Multinational Event “Day of Democracy”

On 23. and 24. March 2021 we will organize the our first big multinational event “Day of Democracy” in Slovenia, which was organized online duo to COVID pandemic.

The main event theme of the big event in Slovenia was the state of Democracy in EU, particularly in the partner countries. Many different measurements for the state of democracy in Europe and around the world as Democracy Index (compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit) and Global State of Democracy Indices (compiled by the International IDEA), show that democracy in Europe is declaiming and its promise needs revival. Indeed, the value, viability and future of democracy are more contested now than ever before in modern history, or at least since the 1930s. While the past four decades have seen a remarkable expansion of democracy throughout all regions of the world, recent years have been marked by declines in the fabric of both older and younger democracies. While the idea of democracy continues to mobilize people around the world, the practice of existing democracies has disappointed and disillusioned many citizens and democracy advocates.

The event was attended by different experts and keynote speakers from partner countries. The main themes where:

State of Democracy in Europe, current trends

Simon Wltavsky, director of Institute TREND-PRIMA, Maribor

Presentation of the state of democracy in the EU and the developments in the world. Focus on different indexes that measure the quality of the democracy in a country and published them on a yearly basis. The indexes are based on indicators grouped in different categories, measuring pluralism, civil liberties and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and a ranking, the index categories each country into one of four regime types: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. Some Indexes: “Democracy index” and “Global state of democracy indices”. Discussion about the challenges to democracy and the effects of corona crisis on the democracy in EU and around the world. Europe has experienced less democratic violations as a result of measures to curb the pandemic. Yet, more than a quarter of countries have implemented measures that are deemed concerning for democracy:

  • Non-democratic regimes in Europe had more concerning developments, on average. The non-democratic regimes in Europe had considerably more (5 times as many) concerning developments than the democracies
  • As in other parts of the world, the aspects of democracy most affected by the pandemic are Freedom of Movement and Freedom of Association and Assembly, although Freedom of Expression and Media Integrity, as well as Personal Integrity and Security, are the areas with most measures of concern in the region.
  • The 4 non-democratic regimes in the region (the authoritarian regimes of Azerbaijan and Belarus and the hybrid regimes of Russia and Turkey) implemented measures to curb the pandemic that presented concerns from a democracy and human rights perspective, as did 8 of the 40 democracies (or 20 per cent of them).
  • The democracies with concerning developments were mostly those that were backsliding or eroding prior to the pandemic. Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia stand out in this regard, but also to a lesser extent Poland, Slovenia and Ukraine. The remaining 2 countries—Israel and Slovakia—were the only democracies that had not recorded democratic declines in the 5 years prior to the pandemic but nonetheless have still implemented measures to curb the pandemic that present concerns from a democracy and human rights perspective.

Presentation of Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo mesto (DRPDNM) and EU projects

Mitja Bukovec, Project Manager at DRPDNM

Discussion about development of EU project to improve the state of democracy in EU countries. Presentation of project: DUBLIN, SHARED EUROPE (encouraging young people to become active citizens; contribute to the better knowledge of the European Union; fight against Euro skepticism; contribute to the formulation of European policies), RESCEU: What would life be without the EU (combating euroscepticism; provide a learning experience on the advantages of the European Union by adopting the escape room format; setting of the escape room: the nationalism is on the rise and the EU is falling apart. Participants have to complete tasks to prevent the collapse of the EU), DOE: Discover Our Europe (Partners noticed that Europeans don’t have much knowledge about the European Union, while their trust in EU is in decline; the aim of the project is to inform the European citizens about the European Union, it’s history and diversity), TELL:Telling the story, learning from listening (younger generations of EU citizens are euro-sceptic and take EU for granted; they aren’t aware of EU past and it’s purpose to keep peace in Europe; the aim of the project is to inform the European citizens about the European Union, it’s history and diversity), VALID-Enacting Common Values of Solidarity and Intercultural Dialogue (aims at building a strong network of towns committed to intercultural exchange; promotion of cultural participation, improving social inclusion, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue, fostering solidarity and respect for cultural diversity).

Do Professionals Take Over? Professionalisation in Civil Society Organisations in Slovak and its impact on their integrity and identity.

Viera Žúborová, Bratislava Policy Institute

Discussion about the civil society organizations in Slovakia. From the start in 1989 to today the effects from financial funding from the west and the networking effect. The uncertainty and disillusion after 2004 where funding sources from private foundations were substantially reduced most of the opportunities for core support disappeared, as donors believed that the main battle in the path of democratisation was won and so moved their operations further South-East. Today, civil society’s situation is marked by uncertainty. There is a lack of sustained financial security and the changing priorities of donors largely impede them from launching long-term research programmes or projects. Reversed from an initial emphasis on professionalization in specific sectors towards a forced thematic fragmentation. The main criteria not being their expertise or track record, but the potential for securing funds.

How to use international mobility projects as a tool to promote active citizenship among young people

Goran Janevski, InterAktion

Use of international mobility projects as a tool to promote active citizenship among young people. Presentation of the project Wowsa – What’s on the Web Safe for All Family Members- A Family Learning Approach to Building Digital Literacy Competences. Where different methods where used to promote the active citizenship. Also presentation of the project ENGAGE (Development of inclusivE iNteGration pAths 4 miGrant women). This project is aiming to increase TCN (third country national) women’s capability to enter the labour market and social life of the host society, via the organization of Up-Skilling Workshops, Job Shadowing Schemes and
cross-cultural activities. 

Youth Parliament

Iva Perić, Europe House Slavonski Brod

Presentation of Youth parliaments and their impact on the democracy in regards to young people, their structure, their first establishments. Discussion about the structure of Youth parliaments, the role of young people on democratic citizenship and an increase in the level of their participation in the society through membership in bodies structured as parliaments. This enables young people to participate in the dialogue and democratic procedures from the early age because Youth parliament gives young people the chance to have their say on any issue which affects them, and be listened to by local and national government. It doesn’t represent any political party view, and is solely issue based.

The status of democracy in Sopronkövesd, Hungary

Máté Deák, Municipality Sopronkövesd

State of democracy in Hungary, the developments from the 1990 till today. Presentation of the advantages till today and the disadvantages, which effect the state of democracy today. Focus on the state of democracy on a local level in a small municipality. Presentation of how can a small municipality validate the democracy: Involvement of citizens; Involvement of local civil sector; Clear communication (mainly in local media communication channels). Discussion and presentation of difficulties which municipalities are facing in their activities.

What is happening with participatory engagement? Some observations

Albin Keuc, director of SLOGA-Slovenian Global Action

Presentation of what is happening with public participatory engagement in the civil space. The reality of shrinking civil space and effects on active citizenship. Discussion about legitimacy and credibility in the civil space and engagement in times of behavioural economics, social networks and tribalism. Also discussion about: attacks on legal frameworks, registered CSOs and Wider, Civic space in the 3rd wave of autocratisation attacks on civic space and Internet shutdowns.

Measuring Media Freedom in The Czech Republic – A Comparative Analysis

Alexandra Witkova, ICM Jindrichuv Hradec

The state of democracy in the Czech republic. Decay of democracy in the Czech Republic? Where some aspects of decline of democratic values are visible. Civil society participation– elections in Czech republic. Direct presidential election by people is in vigour since 2013. Voter turnout on the House of Commons is decreasing in past years. The communal election voter turnout didn’t exceed 50% in the past 20 years. The regional election voter turnout average is around 35%. Media integrity or influence of oligarchy? TV Nova and Petr Kellner Case. Kellner-owned consumer credit company, with a significant presence in China, had funded a PR campaign that mobilized a network of experts and journalists with the aim of improving China’s.

Checks on Government –  Integrity Watch Slovenia and Integrity Pacts

Vasja Čepič, Legal Officer at Transparency International

Developments on Checks on Government: Integrity Watch Europe. Focus on transparency, integrity, Anti-Corruption. Integrity Watch Europe: Online tools for the fight against political corruption in Europe. Action modelled after a successful Integrity Watch platforms at the EU level, France, Chile and the UK. New IW platforms in Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia, updated in France and for the EU institutions. By increasing transparency and integrity, we build trust in the political decision-making processes with the public interest at heart. Contribute to the protection of the democratic processes by enabling citizens, journalists and civil society to monitor and expose cases of political corruption and hold decision makers to account. Integrity and the prevention of corruption act (IPCA). Lobbying, asset declaration, outside activities of public officials, gifts, revolving doors, restriction on business activities. Datasets available, data can be inconsistent due to suboptimal IT solutions, administrative procedures, legal standings. In Slovenia, lobbying has only become a more clearly definable activity in the 1990s. IPCA adopted in 2010. It defines lobbying, lobbyists, lobbied persons, establishes reporting obligations for lobbyists, etc. IPCA includes provisions on keeping data records on lobbying: register of lobbyists and the list of reported lobbying contacts. Why we need mechanisms for the prevention of corruption? What is an integrity pact?

Participatory Engagement trough EU projects SMUG EU in Old Towns New Results

Ms Franja Bučar, project coordinator at DRPDNM

How participatory engagement can be promoted, encouraged and fostered through EU projects. Effects of the project SMUG EU – Small Municipalities Against Euroscepticism. Project activities address a general lack of knowledge about the EU, its institutions and its role in the everyday life of the population of small rural municipalities. Partners, who shared this problem decided to dedicate a project solely to the matter of Euroscepticism and the opinion of the citizens about the European union. The main objective of the project is understanding and debating Euroscepticism in rural areas. Citizens have expressed their opinions and experiences with EU through public debate. Emphasis was on positive and negative sides of the EU membership, experiences with projects and problems concerning their execution. Collaboration between civil society and the state institutions has been put in perspective and tangible results of EU co-financing (institutions, buildings, parks…) have been presented.