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On February 28, the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, embarked on a strategic initiative known as the Democracy Tour, commencing in Helsinki. Since the launch, she visited several EU member states and met with the representatives of governments, businesses, and civil society to discuss achievements and remaining gaps in building resilience against foreign malign influence and autocratisation in EU member states, especially in the lead-up to the European parliamentary elections.

At the Brussels stop of Vice President Jourová’s Democracy Tour, which was co-organized by Bruegel, Globsec, and the Transatlantic Foundation, AUTHLIB’s Dániel Hegedűs (Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Foundation / The German Marshall Fund of the United States) joined the panel discussion titled “The Eleventh Hour to strengthen democracy in the EU?”.

Watch or listen to the discussion between Heather Grabbe (Bruegel), Dániel Hegedűs (TF/GMF), VP Věra Jourová (European Commission), and Márta Pardavi (Hungarian Helsinki Committee) HERE.

The quest for robust democratic resilience necessitates an integrated approach, incorporating a wide range of defensive mechanisms. These must address both digital and traditional challenges our countries face today, including tackling information manipulation, strategic corruption, undue influence over media ownership, and cybersecurity threats. Despite significant progress in strengthening the EU’s and its member states’ resilience through legislative measures, direct confrontation of adversaries, media literacy campaigns, and various national initiatives, the degree of resilience remains uneven across the Union.

Against this backdrop, speakers explored the following questions: How does the existing arsenal of tools at the EU’s and its member states’ disposal fare to safeguard democracy? What are the key achievements of the outgoing Commission in reinforcing the democratic foundations of the European Union? What are the remaining weak spots and how can we tackle them in the future?

Photo credit: Bruegel

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