Today we mark the International Day of Democracy. It is a reminder that the European Union is founded on democratic values and that these remain the aspiration of many people around the world. It is also a timely reminder for the European Union in these difficult days.
Building democracy needs time and determination, a sustained effort, perseverance, a long-term vision and the establishment of institutions and processes, which are the backbone of democratic systems. Nothing should be taken for granted, also within our own borders.
While we promote human rights and democracy all over the world, these values should be preserved also in the face of the worst refugee crisis of the last 100 years. We should be coherent and consistent with our own values. Our dignity, political credibility and international effectiveness are at stake.
With the adoption of the Action Plan for Human rights and Democracy, covering the period 2015-2019, the EU has renewed its commitment to democracy and human rights. This plan stresses that democratic political systems and institutions are essential in recognising and promoting these values and principles. In this context, the EU remains committed to support partner countries in their efforts and stands by the aspirations of all citizens worldwide for democracy and human rights.