International Democracy Day: European leaders must match rhetoric with action

NIMD is part of a diverse coalition of 40 non-profit organizations calling on the EU to take more action to defend and support democracy in the EU and abroad,

This International Day of Democracy, the democracy experts have put forward a joint statement with 5 policy recommendations for the EU institutions and Member States on what they can do to support democracy around the world so their actions match their rhetoric.

As a founding value and guiding principle for external action enshrined in the treaties, the EU has long championed its support to pro-democratization forces. Such support for democracy is increasingly relevant today, in the face of a global trend of democratic stagnation and the increasing boldness of authoritarian regimes [such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and China]. According to research, democracy has been in decline for 13 consecutive years now, while additional research suggests that a third of the world’s population now live in countries where democracy is in retreat.

Yet there are a number of factors inhibiting effective EU action on democracy, such as the lack of a policy framework or a clear definition for democracy support. This is made worse by the fact that democracy is rarely prioritized in foreign policy by the EU and member states, which instead focus predominantly on short term interests of stability and migration management.

That’s why NIMD and its partners call on the EU to stand up for democracy, both internally and in external action. The list of action points include the development of a democracy support policy, the need to ambitiously prioritise democracy issues in foreign policy, and enhanced coordination on democracy issues across and within the different EU institutions.

More information on the five recommendations and the full list of signatories can be found here.