The Open Governance Network for Europe is a joint initiative of the Democratic Society and the Open Government Partnership to connect and drive debate, learning, and innovation in open governance to improve democratic participation, transparency, and accountability in the European Union.
Convening a series of roundtables and public discussions on the shared challenges and opportunities facing Europe’s values, systems, and societies.
Organising workshops, trainings, and an annual retreat for European officials to learn and share experiences and best practices in democracy and open governance.
Showcasing what open governance means in practice to different sectors of European society.
Blog: Does Europe suffer from too much polarisation, or too little? A Democracy Debate, June 29, 2021
In the last several years, new challenger parties have gained ground across Europe and the tone of political debate has sharpened. This has raised fears of polarisation as an unsettling force pulling at the seams of democracy in Europe. Many politicians and analysts now see it as the most serious problem affecting European politics. But is this really the case? Is European democracy really too polarised or is it too narrow in the options it presents to citizens? Could a more serious problem stem from rigid technocratic consensus? To help answer this, the Open Governance Network for Europe, Carnegie Europe, and European Partnership for Democracy convened a Democracy Debate to hear from experts on both sides.
The first annual Democracy and Governance Practice Retreat was held online on 21-25 June 2021. It drew participants from the European institutions, EU member states governments, and national and European civil society for a week of online sessions to share, learn, and develop new understandings and skills in democratic participation, transparency, and accountability toward stronger policymaking, public services, and ultimately better democracy, fit for crisis and beyond. The retreat was led by the Open Governance Network for Europe, sponsored by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, and organised in partnership with the European Commission, European Partnership for Democracy, Democratic Society, Hertie School, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Open Congracting Partnership, Open Government Partnership, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the UN Human Rights Office.
The international community had long praised and supported autocratic countries like Rwanda and Ethiopia for their economic growth, but arguments for authoritarian development have been called into question, most recently, for example, with the eruption of violent conflict in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia in November 2020. Can authoritarian models of governance truly deliver on development in a peaceful and sustainable manner? In this context, the question emerges: Should the EU stop funding autocrats? To help answer this, the Open Governance Network for Europe, Carnegie Europe, and European Partnership for Democracy convened a Democracy Debate to hear from experts on both sides.
In today’s digital age, elections are won, lost and called into question over social media. With little to no system of checks and balances in place for political parties, candidates, online actors and platforms, tech companies can spell out their own rules for political advertising, including the use of microtargeting in paid online campaigns for voter support — all without oversight. To address these concerns collectively, the EU has put the regulation of online platforms and political advertising at the heart of its “new push for European democracy” through proposals for a European Democracy Action Plan and Digital Services Act. To try and solve some of the puzzles around regulating the market and use of online political advertising in Europe, the Open Governance Network for Europe, Open Government Partnership, and European Partnership for Democracy convened policymakers and officials from EU institutions and member states, Canada and the United Kingdom, together with civil society experts and representatives of online platforms in a roundtable discussion. This blog outlines five ways to ensure open government values are at the heart of online political advertising regulation.
One year into the pandemic, this inaugural Democracy Debate assesses if COVID-19 has been entirely bad for democracy, and if it has been as detrimental as we had originally feared at the onset. The debate is led by Sarah Repucci of Freedom House and Anna Lührmann of Varieties of Democracy Institute, and moderated by Richard Youngs of Carnegie Europe. The Democracy Debate series regularly convenes debates among European officials together with civil society, academics, and journalists, between sharply contrasted positions on different democracy-related challenges, in order to foster informed democratic debate and a more nuanced understanding of a diversity of viewpoints on such challenges. The series is led by the Open Governance Network for Europe with support from Carnegie Europe and the European Partnership for Democracy.
Event: Can the European Democracy Action Plan Deliver? A conversation with Věra Jourová, December 4, 2020
The European Commission has unveiled the European Democracy Action Plan, which sets out to tackle problems of disinformation and online political advertising and to strengthen Europe’s media ecosystem. But how can the action plan deliver on its promise to improve European democracy? To mark the plan’s launch, the Open Governance Network for Europe, Carnegie Europe, and European Partnership for Democracy co-hosted a conversation with European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová and Richard Youngs to unpack the initiative and explore what it means for the future of Europe.
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Maria Koomen, lead, Open Governance Network for Europe