“If we want our democracies to thrive as the only lasting political system, we have to urgently address the challenges facing them,” PACE President Tiny Kox said today, addressing a round table in Reykjavik on the theme ‘A Democracy Fit for the Future’.
“Amongst these challenges we see the increasing mistrust of the population towards our democratic institutions or the chronic decline of voter turnout… Let us be blunt about it. We as politicians are partly responsible for this reality. But the good news is that we can also be part of the solution. New, innovative and creative mechanisms should be promoted to enhance civil participation in public decision-making and more direct engagement of citizens in political processes,” he stated.
The round table was organised ahead of the Council of Europe Summit in the Icelandic capital and in the context of an extraordinary meeting of the PACE Standing Committee, in collaboration with the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland and the Parliament of Iceland.
Speakers included Sviatlana Tsikhanovskaya, Leader of the Belarus democratic opposition; Alexander Shlyk, Special Representative for Elections of Sviatlana Tsikhanovskaya; Mariia Mezentseva, Chairperson of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Jón Ólafsson, Professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Iceland; Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Culture and Business Affairs of Iceland; Daníel E. Arnarsson, Director of the National Queer Association (Samtökin ’78) and Isabel Alejandra Diaz, Iceland’s UN Youth Representative for Education, Science, and Culture.