High level politicians, EU officials, academics, journalists, grassroots activists and practitioners debated current trends and challenges to democracy, and analysed the needs and possibilities for reconnecting citizens and democratic institutions. More than 120 participants took part.
Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Christian Leffler, identified in his opening remarks the disconnection between citizens and politicians as one of the major challenges for democracy. He confirmed the commitment of the EU to support democracy, underlining that democracy is not a linear process and reminding that Europe also faces its own challenges: "If there is something we have learned throughout the years and what we should always remember is that democracy is never finished and no progress on democracy is irreversible."
Partnering organizations and the European Commission also showcased political cartoons, photos and videos during the week of the conference. The conference was complemented by a performance of the Arab Puppet Theatre, an artistic collective from the European Neighbourhood, at BOZAR cultural centre. The “Performance Desperately in Need of an Audience” tells the story of exile and refugees. President Emeritus of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, delivered in his keynote address a positive vision on “EU and Democracy: a never ending task”