Ahead of the International Day of Democracy (15 September), PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy adopted the following statement:
“Democracy is a universal value, the cornerstone of free and prosperous societies and a precondition for peace.
The Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a stark reminder of the need for the Council of Europe and its member States to redouble their efforts to defend democracy, which crucially contributes to international peace and security.
The Reykjavik Principles for Democracy, committed to by Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe at the Reykjavik Summit in May 2023, show clear support at the highest political level for securing and strengthening democracy and good democratic governance in Europe.
Democratic backsliding must be redressed by respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms, enhancing trust in public institutions, strengthening the rule of law, countering inequalities, protecting social rights and the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, protecting freedom of the media and the integrity of democratic processes against external interference, opening up spaces for civil society and youth engagement and harnessing the potential of technology while preventing its dangers.
Parliaments should have a leading role in contributing to this endeavour.
As part of these efforts, the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy commends and supports the following initiatives:
- establishing a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Democracy to protect and strengthen democracy at a global level;
- developing a Council of Europe "Democracy Checklist" as a tool for evaluation, accountability, and strengthening democratic practices and institutions;
- exploring innovative participatory models, which would enrich representative democracy by bringing in the direct contribution of youth and civil society.
Protecting and strengthening democracy is an ever-evolving process: new opportunities arise and new tools may be necessary to tackle challenges but the fundamental principles and our commitment remain unchanged.”