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Barcelona hands over the relay trophy to Vienna, the successor of the European Capital of Democracy

ca Trofeu de l'ECoD en Trophy ECoD es Trofeo ECoD

February 20, 2024

The Deputy Mayor, Maria Eugènia Gay, traveled to the capital of Austria to pass on the baton and congratulate Mayor Michael Ludwig

Vienna has been designated as the second European Capital of Democracy for 2024-2025, in recognition of its dedication to promoting democratic dialogue and citizen participation. On this Tuesday, February 20, the Mayor of the Austrian city, Michael Ludwig, received from the Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Maria Eugènia Gay, the relay trophy. She highlighted that "the city of Barcelona applied to become the European Capital of Democracy as it has always been a city committed to the global dimension of cities and democracy, especially within the framework of the network of cities internationally. At the same time, Barcelona has become an international reference for democratic innovation through its model that promotes digital and physical citizen participation. Cities are the closest administration that allows citizens to participate in public affairs; we can undoubtedly say that cities are the leaders of democracy. And for this reason, we must not forget that cities must work with an inclusive approach, based on diversity, respect, protection, and they must guarantee human rights to enable sustainable human and social development."

City of Vienna/Martin Votava

The Mayor of Vienna emphasized the importance of strengthening democracy in a time when facing global challenges, and extended an invitation to interested organizations and institutions to engage in the program of activities that will take place during their tenure as the European Capital of Democracy. Jürgen Czernohorszky, the councilor responsible for Climate, Environment, Democracy, and Human Resources at the Vienna City Council, affirmed, "Amidst the rising authoritarian trends worldwide, as the European Capital of Democracy, we aim to raise awareness about the importance of democracy for social peace and to provide new momentum so that more people can actively shape their living environment." The event took place at Vienna City Hall in the presence of Alberto Terrén, representing the Spanish Embassy in Austria, the founder of the European Capital of Democracy, Helfried Carl, and its director-general, Stefan Sindelar.

Vienna, the second European capital of democracy after Barcelona

Vienna will take over the "baton" of the European Capital of Democracy from Barcelona starting from October of this year. The title has been awarded by the Innovation in Politics Institute, which organized a two-stage voting process at the end of 2023, where Vienna surpassed seven other cities, five of which were nominated for the shortlist after evaluation by an expert jury (Vienna, Bratislava, Leipzig, Gdansk, and Izmir). Finally, a jury of 4,000 citizens from 47 countries of the Council of Europe (and Kosovo) had the decisive vote in favor of Vienna through an online voting.

Barcelona was named the first European Capital of Democracy (ECoD) on January 18, 2023. The executive coordination of the program is formed by the Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan (PEMB), and it has a duration of one year (September 2023 - October 2024). Thus, Barcelona and its metropolitan region, as the European Capital of Democracy, host a series of events, conferences, and activities linked to democratic innovation and citizen participation, but also to culture, education, and public space. The ECoD seeks to establish a space for reflection and great visibility where the citizenship of Europe meets, engages, experiences new forms of participatory and inclusive democracy in collective action, and draws inspiration from a comprehensive program designed to advance democracy and build or rebuild trust in it.

From the Barcelona City Council, together with ECoD and PEMB, a broad space for collaboration has also been created with multiple entities, organizations, foundations, and other public institutions at the European and metropolitan level and in Barcelona. Among them, the collaboration and involvement of other public institutions such as the Government of Catalonia and the Barcelona Provincial Council stand out.

During the program year, different topics intersecting with democracy are addressed, such as technology, culture, education, video games, climate challenges, and fundamental rights. One of the actions starting in March is precisely the deliberative process within the framework of the Manifesta Biennial: Manifesta Metropolitan Assembly.

View the press conference

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