European democracy

European democracy

The institutions of democracy are fundamental to Europe's idea of itself. But they are under strain. 

Democracy is at the core of what have come to be regarded as European values. With a few important exceptions, European countries can lay reasonable claim to be governed according to the principles of democracy, mostly the representative sort.

However, democratic governance has regressed in some places. External interference in democratic procedures is an established threat. Political forces that channel popular discontent have grown in strength; some have questionable democratic credentials. The European Union plays a complex role in these developments. Its conditions for accession constitute a powerful pro-democratic spur. Yet that conditionality is weaker in respect to existing members. Moreover, the very model of EU governance challenges national democracy in ways that have yet to be fully offset at the supranational level.



The material on this page is from 2023. Previous material can be found in the Europe Programme's archive.


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