Democracy and governance
The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities (Article 2 of the EU Treaty). Yet, trust in governance and democratic institutions has been put under threat in the recent years, a situation that was aggravated by the Covid-19 crisis.
One of the European Commission's priorities is to give a new push for European democracy, by giving European citizens a bigger say and protecting our democracy from threats such as external interference, disinformation and online hate speech.
New knowledge and solutions are needed to
- tackle political extremism and polarisation
- strengthening democratic participation and active citizenship
- foster awareness and exercise of democratic rights
- understand the role of media in fostering or inhibiting political dialogue
- support innovation of the public sector
- enhance accountability and legitimacy, protection of rights, and to help strengthen trust in democratic institutions
Research and innovation funding for democracy and governance
Funding under Horizon 2020
Under the 2014-2020 EU research and innovation funding programme, Horizon 2020, almost 400 research projects received more than € 800 million for issues such as
- trust in governance, the rule of law
- societal and political engagement of young people
- social rights and citizenship
- populism, violent extremism and polarisation
- exploring deliberative and participatory democracy approaches to foster political participation
- involving citizens in deliberations to develop workable solutions for the Green Deal
- enabling digital, open government and data-driven policy-making
- transformation of public administration, supporting internal innovation efforts of governments through mutual learning, experimentation in policy-making, open government approaches, system thinking, and innovation capacity building in public administrations
These European research and innovation investments also helped to improve coordination between national research policies, to foster networking between NGOs and civil society stakeholders, and enabled experimentation and mutual learning.
Funding under Horizon Europe
In the next research and innovation funding programme beginning in 2021, Horizon Europe, a specific intervention area under Cluster 2 of the programme will support innovative research on democracy and governance.
Having a dedicated section for democracy and governance allows for a holistic approach working with other EU and national programmes dedicated to citizens, rights and values and reform of the public sector.
- Research and innovation supporting an EU free from antisemitism
- Factsheet: research and innovation on governance and democracy
- Past, present and future of democracy
- Transformations of European Citizenship: beyond free movement
- Diversity, democracy and solidarity in EU societies
- Challenges to democracy in Europe: Insights into a complex and turbulent political climate
- Understanding turbulent political times through innovative EU-funded research
- Digital Government: Co-creating innovative public services for citizens and businesses
- ERC Project Stories
Project policy briefs
Many Horizon 2020 projects relating to democracy and governance publish policy briefs and other results and research papers while they are active. Some examples below.
Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and Rule of Law
Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OECD)
Enlightened Trust in Governance
Reconstructing Democracy in Times of Crisis
Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities (ended January 2020)
Differentiation, Dominance, Democracy
Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments
Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism and Polarisation
Radicalisation, Secularism and the Governance of Religion: Bringing together European and Asian Perspectives
The Problem of European Misperceptions in Politics, Health, and Science: Causes, Consequences, and the Search for Solutions