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Do We Trust Democracy? A Future Agenda for Europe



The European election of 2019 asked voters to choose between more or less Europe, between inclusion and diversity or exclusion and nationalism, and between societies that are more open or more closed.

These are false dichotomies. The right question to ask is how Europeans can get a Europe that delivers better. For all. At European, national, and local level – and beyond.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is publishing this thought-provoking collection of essays to breathe new life into this debate. The essays are written by a diversity of European voices from all Member States, including leading decision-makers, civil society activists, journalists, academics, and youth leaders, among others.


Europe and Open Government — A Powerful Opportunity – PAUL MAASSEN

Democracy Beyond Elections in Europe: The Case for Participatory Democracy – ALBERTO ALEMANNO

Democracy and Immigration — Culture of Fear – RABEE ALREFAI

A Digital Backbone for a Citizens’ Europe – DOROTHEE BÄR

Democracy Is a Costly Gift, One That Must Be Constantly Developed – CHRISTINE BOSSE

Rebuilding Trust — Brick by Brick – GURPREET BRAR

Democracy and Digital: The Need for a New Social Contract – MÁRIO CAMPOLARGO


Looking for Responsible Leaders for Climate Change – ADÉLAÏDE CHARLIER

Is Inclusive, Responsive, and Accountable Open Government Enough? – TINA DIVJAK

What It Takes to Rebuild Trust in Institutions – KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA

Restoring Resilience: Some Thoughts on Current Challenges Faced by European Democracies and Possible Answers to Them – MARIA GOLUBEVA

The Crisis of Representative Democracy Asks for Education-Based Solutions – GEORGE JIGLAU

A Shared Ambition in Defence of Democracy – VĚRA JOUROVÁ

Modern Caravels: Three Adventures from Lithuania – INGRIDA KALINAUSKIENĖ

Democracy and Development, Thinking Forward – ELINA KALKKU

Building the Common Good – LEON KRIER

It Is About Both Social and Political Trust – SANDOR LEDERER

A Message of Hope – MICHAEL O’FLAHERTY

Transparency, Disinformation, and New Legislation for Political Parties – KAJSA OLLONGREN

Role Update: The Civil Servant in the Networked Society – ADRIAN SOLITANDER, PIERRE MESURE, AND JENNY PERSSON

Accountable Public Governance: From “Decide-Announce-Defend” to “Engage-Deliberate-Decide” – TEELE PEHK

Battles for Ideas – MICHALIS PERSIANIS

Meaningful Civil Participation and an Independent Civil Society — Essential Elements of Our Common European Future – ANNA RURKA

Health of Democracy in Europe: Building Trust via Local Government – EMILIA SAIZ CARRANCEDO

Politics — a Personal Affair, a Public Affair – JURAJ ŠELIGA

From Algo-Democracy to Polis: Reclaiming Human Participation in a Post-Human World – DR. PRODROMOS TSIAVOS

Empowering Civil Society for Better Control Over Digital Platforms – HENRI VERDIER

Improving Government Responsiveness as a Way of Regaining Citizen’s Trust and Willingness to Engage – IGOR VIDAČAK

Does the EU Want What Its Neighbours Need? – JEFF LOVITT

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We sincerely thank the contributors for authoring thought-provoking essays articulating their vision on the health of democracy and trust in Europe.

Our special thanks go out to Lotte Geunis for her help in editing our introductory essay.

This publication was conceptualised by Paul Maassen, Sandra Pernar, Helen Turek, and Peter Varga.

The publication was edited by Namita Kambli and Elisabeth Wiltshire from The Democratic Society together with the OGP team.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Open Government Partnership.

Copyright: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


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