Digitalising Democracy: e-Democracy and e-Participation in Europe

28. Nov 2017
Brussels, Belgium
The technologically most advanced continent in the world, Europe, is still lagging behind in the introduction ICTs in decision-making and the achievement of all inclusive democracies through 21st century technologies and communication tools. Whereas, best practices in the area of e-democracy are observed in all European regions, they are spread unevenly, still remain restricted within country borders, and are often vibrant on local level only. What are the perspectives before an all-embracing eDemocracy across Europe and what are the reasons behind the modest progress so far? Are the technological and political concerns prevailing to date, or the positives of the online tools that enable wider and broader citizen’s participation in governance are not convincing enough to policy-makers and experts? Now is the right time to admit that digitalisation of all areas of public life happens, whether we like or not. What the future look of European democracies will be and will we, as liberals, use the technological momentum to reshape the traditional governance model to the next step of representative liberal democracy? These topics we will debate during the event Digital Democracy and e-Participation in Europe. The event will include a presentation of the ELF publication eDemocracy and eParticipation, and a topical discussion, with the participation of EP and EC representatives, contributors to the publication, representatives of ELF member organisations, and experts.

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    Digitalisation of the democratic process is happening, whether we plan it or not. Best practices from across Europe and the world evidence that technologies can supplement traditional democracies and ensure more open, transparent, and inclusive politics. 

    To present the different national realities and trends in the area of eDemocracy and eParticipation, the European Liberal Forum, supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Southeast Europe, has just published the publication “eDemocracy and eParticipation: The precious first steps and the way forward”, which includes contributions from altogether eighteen authors from Northern, Central, and Southeast Europe. The e-book was presented at the European Parliament on 28 November before European Commission and European Parliament representatives and a large number of ELF member organisations, as a part of a rountable discussion about the future shape of eParticipation and its further promotion in the EU. 

    We were hosted by ALDE Party Vice-President, Ilhan Kyuckyuk MEP, who delivered a welcome address and encouraged Liberals to seize the technological momentum to reshape the traditional governance model to the next step of representative liberal democracy.

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