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ECAS’ Executive Director at the 2018 Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

03 December 2018

On 26 and 27 November, ECAS’ Executive Director, Assya Kavrakova took part in the 2018 Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights: Democracy in the EU.

The event brought together national and EU policymakers, international organisations, civil society organisations, media and social media representatives, academics and legal professionals to identify ways to foster and renew democratic engagement at a time of low turnout in elections, populism, and digitalisation.

On the second day Ms. Kavrakova delivered an Impulse Statement during the parallel session on “Supporting broad participation and representation in democratic societies”, moderated by Sergio Carrera, Director of Network of Academic Experts on Citizenship Rights.

In her speech she identified two key challenges our democracies are facing. The first challenge involves the information overload due to rapidly advancing digitalisation (“too much information does not necessarily mean better information”). This led to the matter of new responsibilities and challenges faced by the educational institutions, and the need for teaching skills which could help European citizens adapt to a fast-paced environment, identify high-quality and verified information and use it accordingly for their personal and professional development.

The second challenge is related to how democracy is currently practiced. Given the level of knowledge citizens acquire with the information they foster, voting at elections is not sufficient any more. Ms. Kavrakova then encouraged to explore ways in which the EU institutions can  develop a coherent framework of democratic engagement with citizens in-between elections. The implementation of crowdsourcing mechanisms in parallel to the Commission’s on-line consultations which are designed mainly for organized interests is one way of doing it.

Read the full programme of the event here.