Initiative calls for transnational referenda, warns that "democracy is in danger"

23. July 2012

Activists, experts, researchers, journalists and politicians from eleven European countries met in Burgas, Bulgaria, last week to discuss the development of citizen participation and direct democracy in Europe and the world. In a joint declaration adopted at the meeting, they stressed that "Democracy is the most important issue of our

Gerald Häfner, MEP, President of Democracy International
Image: DI

time as political questions like climate change, the responsibility for resources and the environment, the state of civil rights and policies on economic, financial and social issues depend on the quality of democracy and the question who takes the decisions in the end."

At the same time, the declaration goes on, democracy is "in danger in a world, in which more and more political decisions are taken on an international or transnational level while democratic participation and control still lies within the nation states. For all these reasons we need more democracy, citizen participation and direct democracy."

The meeting was organized by Democracy International, a global coalition that advocates the establishment and strengthening of direct democracy in Europe and the world. According to the statement adopted in Burgas, "Democracy International calls for the right to initiative and referenda in all countries and on the local, regional, national or transnational level." Considering the situation in Europe, the initiative called for a European Convention on the future of the EU and a European-wide referendum on its outcome.

As the initiative reports on its website, people from all over the world have been working together since 2002 to promote the idea of more direct democracy and citizens participation. Democracy International was then formally established in 2011 as a network of individuals and non-governmental organizations.

"Our basic goal is the establishment of direct democracy as a complement to representative democracy throughout the world and at all levels of government: local, regional, national and transnational", says Gerhald Häfner, president of Democracy International and Green Member of the European Parliament from Germany.

Häfner on the mission of the initiative


Häfner was also one of the signatories of an open letter last year that called on the German government to take the initiative for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

Website of Democracy International

Tags: Bulgaria