Public Conference


From on-line demands to real life improvements:  How to transform Civic Activism to Political Realities

From on-line demands to real life improvements: How to transform Civic Activism to Political Realities

(Social) media and new technologies have clearly played an essential role in mobilising citizens demanding change. How can this mobilisation lead to sustainable democratic processes? How can we make sure that public and civil society demands are effectively realised through the political system? On the International Day of Democracy, three actors of democracy, from the European Parliament, Tunisia and Georgia, responded to these and other questions at a debate organised by the European Parliament, Commission and External Action Service (EEAS), together with the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP), and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

Ulrike Lunacek, Vice President of the European Parliament, and Green party member, focused on personalities and parliaments in shaping democracies. Strong personalities, who can resist criticism, yet are also able to work together to find solutions, are essential for effective and functioning  parliaments. She emphasised that parliaments should represent all parts of society, in particular women, who are always underrepresented. “If we had a 50-50 [female-male] split in parliaments, we would have a better world,” she stated..

Since his active  student union days in Tunisia, Jaouhar Ben Mbarek has been engaged in his country’s political development. Ahead of the 2014 referendum on the new Constitution, he founded the civil society network “Doustourna” – briefly supported by EED - that encourages participative democracy and mobilises its member to jointly pass messages to political institutions. In describing the role of the civic movement around the revolution, he said, “We took charge and contributed to the democratic transformation,” “Tunisia will succeed in its democratic revolution – thanks to its strong education”, and he keeps hope “despite difficult times”. At the same time, he points to Tunisian civil society’s need to develop and adapt their technical and political skills to match the country’s current reform needs, and to further work on creating trust between civil society and political elites.

Levan Tsutskiridze, representative of the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy (NIMD) for South Caucasus, helped push forward Georgia’s political reforms after its “Rose Revolution” in 2003. During the debate, he focused on the role of technology to empower citizens and his professional experience with “liquid feedback”. A software tool used by the German Pirate Party, “liquid feedback” facilitates civic engagement in public policy making, as well as within political parties. Citizens can use it to register initiatives, and those with sufficient votes or likes, will proceed to  the decision making process. “This technology gives people easy tools to demand information and increases the urge for citizens to engage more directly with politicians.”

The debate’s moderator, Silvio Gonzato, Director for Human Rights and Democracy at the European External Action Service, drew some key conclusions: “we need long term education, constructive civil society organisations and civic public campaigns to foster democracy”. EED’s Executive Director Jerzy Pomianowski also noted that in today’s context of Europe’s refugee crisis, “we cannot forget some of its root causes: political systems that do not provide their citizens with democratic rights and dignity”.

The event was hosted at the premises of European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

Follow reactions to the Democracy Day event: #DemocracyDayBxl


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PRESS RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE

In times when the environment for EU democracy support experiences manifest challenges, the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) hosted its 9th Annual General Assembly in Brussels on 24th of June 2015. ENoP was established in 2006 and currently represents 63 member organisations from 23 EU-Member States.

The participants of the General Assembly welcomed the members of the newly introduced Political Advisory Board for a first constituent meeting.

The Political Advisory Board of ENoP is composed of
• Mr Pekka Haavisto, Member of the Finnish Parliament, former Minister for Environment and Development (1995-1999) and Minister for Development and State Ownership (2013-2014);
• Mrs Gudrun Kopp, former Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development;
• Mrs Rodi Kratsa, President of the Konstantinos Karamanlis Institute, former Vice-President of the European Parliament;
• Mr Jan Marinus Wiersma, former Member of the European Parliament from 1994-2009 (European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs)

On the basis of its rotating principles amongst party families, Mr Martin Ängeby, Secretary-General of SILC, the Swedish International Liberal Centre, became the newly elected Coordinator of ENoP. Ängeby’s expertise comprises political dialogue experience with the Arab world, Cuba and Belarus. Dr. Arnold Kammel, Programme Director for International Relations of the Political Academy PolAk, Austria, has been mandated as Deputy Network Coordinator. His main fields are trade policy, transatlantic relations and political dialogue with North and South Sudan. Rebecca Wagner, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Brussels office, was elected ENoP Network Treasurer.
The Steering Committee honoured the commitment of the out-going Network Coordinator, Ms Andrea E. Ostheimer, Director of the Department for Sub-Sahara Africa of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Berlin. Ms Ostheimer had served from 2009 to 2013 as Deputy Coordinator and was elected ENoP Network Coordinator in 2013. The plenary expressed as well its gratitude towards the Deputy Network Coordinator Anna Sundström, Head of Operations at Olaf Palme International Centre (since January 2015) and her predecessor Ulrika Lång as well as Alba Çako, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit, Brussels office, former Treasurer.
ENoP as the representative platform of national political foundations from EU Member States advocates democratic values within and beyond Europe’s borders. It channels the experience and expertise of political foundations into the EU decision-making process via policy papers and contributions to consultation processes. In cooperation with other stakeholders it provided feedback on the draft Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) “Keeping human rights at the heart of the EU agenda”.

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ENoP conference "Challenges for European Development Cooperation in 2015 and Beyond

ENoP conference "Challenges for European Development Cooperation in 2015 and Beyond

Under the slogan “Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future” the year 2015 has been declared as the European Year for Development (2015EYD). The aim of the EYD2015
is to raise the awareness of European citizens for the interconnectedness of our world. Today, what happens in Europe has a direct influence on countries in
Asia, Africa or Latin America and the other way around. In this context of globalisation, European citizens need to be involved in and sensitised about global challenges, such as poverty eradication, food security, climate change, democratic societies and gender equality.

In this context ENoP organised with the support of its Portuguese Member Fondacao Res Publica  the public conference
Challenges for European Development Cooperation in 2015 and Beyond - Perspective on Role of Municipalities and Africa-EU Relations.
The event took place on 29 May and was divided into 2 panels:

1: 2015 EYD – Importance of Development Cooperation Policies in the EU and the Role of Cities and Municipalities

2: Financing for Development and Africa‐EU Relations – ODA and the Challenge of Tax Evasion and Illicit Financial Flows

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Challenges for European Development Cooperation in 2015 and Beyond

Challenges for European Development Cooperation in 2015 and Beyond

Under the slogan “Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future” the year 2015 has been declared as the European Year for Development (2015EYD). The aim of the EYD2015 is to raise the awareness of European citizens for the interconnectedness of our world. Today, what happens in Europe has a direct influence on countries in Asia, Africa or Latin America and the other way around. In this context of globalisation, European citizens need to be involved in and sensitised about global challenges, such as poverty eradication, food security, climate change, democratic societies and gender equality.

This conference was organised in the framework of the EYD2015 by the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) together with its Croatian member organisations Novo Društvo, Medunarodni Edukacijski Centar and Zaklada Hrvatskog Državnog Zavjeta. It aimed to bringing in the Croatian perspective on EU Development Cooperation and discussing the challenges linked to it together with Croatian experts and civil society representatives.

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International Day of Democracy - Joining Forces in Democracy Support

International Day of Democracy - Joining Forces in Democracy Support

To mark the UN International Day of Democracy, democracy practitioners from the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), together with EU policy makers shared approaches to supporting democratisation processes and reflect on how a real difference through our democracy assistance efforts can be made. The discussion took stock of what has been achieved so far and identify democracy support strategies for consideration of the new European leadership.

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Policy Coherence for Development: Making political choices!

Policy Coherence for Development: Making political choices!

Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), as enshrined in Article 208 of the Lisbon Treaty, stresses the importance of taking into account development cooperation objectives when implementing EU policies. This concerns policies in areas such as trade, agriculture, energy and migration. Even though the implicitness of PCD is largely acknowledged among decision-makers and institutional mechanisms have been set up, incoherent policies still exist and some of the EU’s policies have an undermining effect on its development policy. The existing institutional mechanisms, such as the European Commission’s report on PCD do not seem to have had sufficient impact. To enforce the concept of PCD, political will across the party spectrum would be needed.

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Defying the crisis

Defying the crisis

The ENoP Public Conference on the topic “Defying the crisis - Impulses for active European Citizenship” brought together actors from different backgrounds in order to identify and discuss how to react to the remaining challenges of European citizenship. The conference also aimed at reflecting on the particular role of political foundations in addressing the outlined challenges. The event united around 60 participants from 11 different European countries. It was organized by ENoP with the input of the ENoP working group “Citizenship” in the framework of the EU 2013 Year of the European Citizen.

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