“Democracy faces many challenges and the EU is not new to these challenges.
We cannot take democracy for granted. We must close all the gaps, block authoritarianism, and all the threats. That is why we are working on the defence of the democracy package.
We need to build democratic resilience.”
This is how Dubravka Šuica, Vice President of the European Commission, addressed members and partners of ALDA, during the opening ceremony of the Association’s General Assembly, on Thursday June 8th, 2023.
With her words, she endorsed ALDA’s Festival and Assembly’s main theme “Local Democracy will Save Democracy”, this being probably the biggest challenge European institutions and civil society will have to work for in the upcoming period. A mission that needs to be pursued through the strengthening of participation, democratic values and dialogue.
“We cannot take democracy for granted. We must close all the gap. […] We need to build democratic resilience”
In her inspiring speech, the Vice President went back on her career path, recalling that she herself began her political career as mayor of her hometown and that “once a mayor always a mayor, ‘cause all politics is local in the end”.
Then, the discussion was extended to the hall, where the audience had the chance to interact and ask questions to the Vice President. For instance, a point was raised on the follow-up of the Conference on the Future and on how citizens’ input was taken into account. Here, Šuica, reaffirmed how 80% of European Commission’s initiaitves are directly drawn from recommendations gathered during the CoFoE.
Šuica’s presence was a powerful signal of the stronger and stronger links connecting ALDA and the EC, as well as of how the Commission considers ALDA’s action important for the democratic advancement and the empowerment of local communities, in Europe and in the Neighbourhood.