Can our democracy survive the pandemic? This question was asked by many observers in Spring 2020, when governments were forced to introduce drastic measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Two years later, we note that while European democracy did not perish, the pandemic did leave some serious injuries (and Putin’s war in Ukraine puts democracy even further to the test). But the past two years have also seen the European Union launch an unprecedented deliberative democratic exercise in the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) to engage citizens in European politics and bring Europe closer to them.

We teamed up with the ZEIT-Stiftung to organise a panel at this year’s EuropaCamp entitled “Does democracy need a makeover?” where these experts discussed YOUR questions and comments! Watch the discussion in the video above.

  • Helene von Bismarck, Historian, Writer and Public Speaker 
  • Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor and Director of the Good Lobby (via Zoom) 
  • Sarah Händel, Federal Executive Board member of Mehr Demokratie (via Zoom) 
  • Moderation: Caroline Will, Editor of Debating Europe/DE 

Does democracy need a makeover? How big is the threat of populism to European democracy? How should the EU respond to rule of law violations by Member States? Should the Conference on the Future of Europe become permanent? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: Conference on the Future of Europe
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

25 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    which democracy? we are treated just like voters for one day. Not citizens. Playing a multiple (usually double) choice game once every 4 years is not democracy. Is just a ridiculous responsibility propagation.

  2. avatar
    DjCaylus Caylus

    Is the structure of Eu realy democratic? or is It a “silencious communism structure”?….. You have 2h and I take back the copy 😉

  3. avatar

    We hebben de voorbije 2,5 jaar gezien in wat voor een democratie we zitten. Alle Europese regeringen die enkel aan dictatuur doen, discriminatie, gezinnen en vriendschappen naar de verdoemenis hebben geholpen, dwangmatige spuiten in ieders lijf willen pompen. Enz. Enz. Geef ons leven terug en laat ons met rust.

    • avatar

      Ale luc de buck vind dit blijkbaar grappig. Niet erg hoor dat je ermee lacht. Neem het niet kwalijk dat zwakzinnige mensen lachen met het leed van andere mensen.

    • avatar

      volledig mee eens….

  4. avatar

    Today in Brussels, tommorow in Strasbourg ??? 🤮

  5. avatar

    An improvement can be made by replacing the statistics with organization of competitions at all levels!

  6. avatar

    Als de EU verdwijnt…dan kan er wat democratie terug komen.

  7. avatar

    I am conflicted. On the one hand, I do not like a bunch of random people whose only criteria for making country-wide and EU-wide decisions are based on their ability to get votes. Not on their critical thinking skills, not on their ethics, not on the expertise required to make such calls. On the other hand, I do not trust the EU to make those decisions because the EU is not altruistic and pro-people. They have agendas and serve banks and corporations. plus the EU are control freaks. Control this, censor that, ‘you must believe what we say and not question Bovid, our measures, ‘our’ science, Bill Gates or our position on Ukraine. So our choices at the moment are a bunch of unskilled incompetents or agenda-driven control freaks who do not actually care about our wellbeing on all levels, our freedom rights or medical rights. I wrote to Europe Advice and they told me my corrupt government can mandate an experimental rush-job quacksine with experiemntal technologies. Stuff that! I don’t trust any of you to make decisions because you all violate, cause suffering, harm, or massive debt. You are all rubbish choices at the moment.

  8. avatar

    Europe has no say!!!
    Europe is not a country and not my country!
    We the people will fight!
    make no mistake about that!

  9. avatar
    Carlos Maria

    Propaganda, manipulation and deceit, payed for with our own money…

  10. avatar


  11. avatar
    JT HK

    Stop lip service of “democracy” but do real things to secure people’s life and living by not fueling war near the doorstep and take positive action for post-Covid social economic recovery. Without social and economic recovery, “democracy” is just to divert people’s attention from real threats.

  12. avatar
    JT HK

    EU is apparently victimized by its over-expansion. Too many interests and election oriented democracy has already paralyzed Europe political process as we can see over the Russia and Ukraine sanctions. Popularly elected governments are being held accountable to their own people rather than following irrational and radical sanction to kill national economy for Ukraine. As a matter of fact, EU has not tried any effort to calm down both Russia and Ukraine at the beginning of the conflict, due to the dominance of populism in Europe as the EU Parliament clearly reflected. According to the formation of the UN and EU, war should not be an option before expiry of all peaceful efforts. Putin has listed out all his effort to integrate with Europe or peaceful coexist with before his “pre-emptive” military action. What EU has done to prevent such outcome? Emmanuel Macron is wise to propose revitalization of French-German relationship, which is, to rebuild the previous coalition of the Angela Merkel era. This strong coalition had been successfully secured EU’s independent and sovereign decisions to a very large extent. Unfortunately, the post-Merkel era saw a value-oriented German, which opted to fuel the Russia and Ukraine conflict by killing German industries and the economy as a whole. May be Macron should better think of forming a closer relationship with like-minded political leaders who can bravely say no to the unilateralism of the value-oriented EU. By putting security and interests of the people before irrational value-oriented sanctions is the duty and responsibility of all popularly elected government. Europe’s real need is not abstract values because Europe is facing the real threat of war and food crisis. After two years of the Europe-US trade disputes and two years of the COVID, social and economic recovery should top all political agenda of all leaders of democracy.

  13. avatar

    The democracy is like a lake full of frogs. When it’s summer(no problem), the frogs scream, and when it’s cold(problem), the frogs disappear … If you talk about the populism that comes from outside, you can put headphones on the frog’s ears! If it’s about the populism from inside, the frog has so no much brain … it’s more active in direct thinking …
    In our dreams, the problem of time and money never appears. This means that populism is hard to stop, but it can be directed! Is it in our interest or the interest of others? That’s the right question!

  14. avatar

    Corporations need to be regulated and restricted and the mega-wealthy need a wealth cap. Otherwise, we will continue to see irresponsible informational omissions of risks and harmful actions out of greed for profits, and abuse of undeserved and unauthorised power by unethical people.

    • avatar
      JT HK

      It is difficult to set a wealth cap for we cannot quantify wealth and cannot catch up with the growth of wealth in a free-market economy. We can only use policy to facilitate the transfer of wealth from mega-wealthy such as to impose special tax for additional input on environmental protection or labour protection issues, etc. It is important to avoid targeting any group or basing on confrontation in the policy formulation.

  15. avatar

    it is easy. Cap the billionaires. How much personal wealth do they need? 1 billion?

  16. avatar

    I think it might just be a luxury problem. A bit similar to the demonstrators in Ottawa, calling the Canadian government a dictatorship. Then a real dictator invades another country and its a bit like a cold shower: we are lucky to have what we have, because obviously some need to physically fight to even get a small chance to get what we have. Watch the series ‘Servant of the People’ with Zelensky. It’s actually an excellent reminder of what democracy ought to be about.

  17. avatar

    Yes. #postdemocratie (postdemocracy).It Does not exist limits on searching to optimize a society. It is only a medical metter , accepting laws or Constitutions, only because are verified in time and has an history.
    All will change, if we change in the elections process, 2 steps .: Only switch between them 2 steps and electronic vote in block chain. See my page and try to see* where is driving each hashtag. “Without political icons” , “without parties”, “without presettled timed mandate” .
    We need to identify and list all* the problems*….as First Step for elections and not anymore identify “political icons”. Each problem of all must be thrown at the population as in “Mondo Cane” for find the most bidder justified solution for community in a brain storming. So, the target of elections process will be the best files including the best solutions for society at that time.( as the Second step).
    The third step , the step of celebration of collective genius is to find the signature and figure of the authors of the files we have voted. Finally we will see our best elected representatives.
    This will change all with unexpected benefits.

  18. avatar

    Yes, of course! How can societies protect themselves against been taken over dictatorships and authoritarian regimes?
    Are there enough possibilities for population without their lives to be in danger? I don’t think so…

  19. avatar


  20. avatar

    Yes…but not today….Yesterday.

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.