The European Capital of Democracy presents a programme of more than 40 activities for 2023-2024
September 14, 2023
For one year, the city of Barcelona and its metropolitan region will host local, metropolitan, European and international events, conferences and activities linked to democratic innovation, citizen participation, culture, education and public space
Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan (PEMB) –which form the technical office of the European Capital of Democracy– have presented the program of events this September 14 in the Saló de Cent of the City Hall of the Catalan capital. In this way, the starting signal has been given, practically coinciding with the International Day of Democracy, which takes place every September 15 at the European level, to a forty of events that will take place from this month of September to October 2024. These events aim to establish a space for reflection and high visibility in which the citizens of Europe meet, get involved, experience new forms of participatory and inclusive democracy in school action and are inspired by a broad programme designed to advance democracy and build or rebuild trust in it.
A servant open to the citizenry
The act has included the participation of the mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, who has highlighted that “the cities have been the bressol of democracy in Europe and it is about focusing the debate on defense and exercise “of the wealth of democracy.” It was also attended by the Vice President of Democracy and Demography of the European Commission, Dubravka Suica, who highlighted that “Barcelona is an excellent example of a city that recognizes innovation in all areas, including in the field. “digital” in reference to the Decidim platform, embedded in the citizen participation processes that have been brought to the city, and has stated that “the municipalities and the cities believe in these things, make a tangible difference in the daily life of the city . “She is convinced of the importance of reinforcing democracy at the local level to build a resilient and inclusive democracy.”
Lastly, the founder of the European Capital of Democracy, Helfried Carl, has presented the Capital's paper that will show the best practices of Europe and that have been in space for innovation with projects carried out worldwide.
The second tenth mayor of the Area of Social Rights, Culture, Education and Life Cycles, Maria Eugènia Gay, has outlined the programme of actions and has made explicit the collaboration of different institutions that have already begun to participate in the development of the program of the Capital with the Provincial Council of Barcelona, the Generalitat of Catalonia, the Xarxa de Governs Transparents or the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. Furthermore, it is a network of entities that are planned in different forms of collaboration with the metropolis of Barcelona, such as the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), the Biennial Manifesta, the Smart City Expo World Congress or other related fields in the field of innovation and democracy. At the international level, alliances are also being created with organizations such as Re-Imagine Europe (also present at the act), ALDA, the International Youth Think Tank or the Eurocities city network.
A programme to promote a democratic and inclusive future
Among the main activities of the programme are:
- Inaugural conference "The challenges of Democracy in Europe" by Daniel Innerarity at the CCCB on October 5, 2023.
- Conferences on Democracy and participation organized jointly with the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Diputació de Barcelona on March 12 and 13, 2024.
- The European awards ceremony for political innovation "The annual innovation in Politics Awards" to be held at the Paranimf de l'Escola Industrial on April 18, 2024.
- GameJam or 48 hours of video game creation around how to combat Fake News under the title "Truth, Lies & Democracy" which will be held at the Canòdrom at the beginning of June 2024.
- An international meeting of mayors around climate policies "ActNOW International Mayors' Conference" that will take place in the city of Barcelona in September 2024.
- Festival on "Democracy and the city" and closing ceremony as part of the Biennial of Thought that will take place in Barcelona at the beginning of October 2024.
In addition, two participation processes stand out during the programme year:
- A deliberative process on a metropolitan scale within the framework of the Biennial Manifesta with a deliberative assembly for the co-design of a proposal for public debates for the 2024 biennial.
- Process of participation with children with schools and institutes of the city with a series of debates about how children want to participate in the city.
In total, the European Capital of Democracy will bring together more than forty local and international conferences and activities organized by different institutions and civil society organizations such as Future4Citizens Dialogues by Re-imagine Europe (October 2024), International Youth Conference 2023 by the International Youth Think Tank (October 2024), Open Government Week organized by the Generalitat de Catalunya (May 2024) or the ALDA Festival & General Assembly organized by the European Association for Local Democracy .
"By bringing citizens closer to the decision-making centers that affect their daily lives, we think globally by acting locally. This is precisely what the Barcelona City Council is doing through the Decidim platform and it will also do it over the next few months by also transferring it to the metropolitan region", said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, who closed the act.
First European Capital of Democracy
Barcelona has been chosen as the first European Capital of Democracy by a citizen's jury made up of 2,500 people from all over Europe. The main objective of this initiative is to promote democratic innovation and democratic strengthening in Europe and internationally.
On June 30, 2022, Barcelona City Council confirmed to the organization Barcelona's desire to present its candidacy. It did so formally in September 2022, along with 12 other cities. Barcelona contributed five experiences and/or projects of citizen participation and democratic innovation, the most outstanding in this field and which have had a high impact for the city:
- The digital platform for citizen participation Decidim
- Participatory budgets of the city
- Deliberative Citizens' Assemblies: Youth Forum and the participatory process linked to the Citizens' Climate Assembly
- Superilla Barcelona
- The Canòdrom, a university of digital and democratic innovation
The European Capital of Democracy (ECoD in English) is promoted by The Innovation in Politics Institute, which has awarded the prize, with the support of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, and other organizations that seek to deepen democracy also collaborate, such as the Democratic Society, RSA, German Marshall Foundation and twenty other actors relevant in this area.
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