Managing Director, European Forum Alpbach, Vienna
(September – December 2017)
Democracy Reloaded—What Can We Learn From Bottom-Up Democratic Innovations?
For decades we took the advance of Western liberalism and democracy for granted. Now democracy is under attack from illiberal forces on the outside and from increasing populism on the inside. But perhaps democracy in Europe is also under threat because people have stopped believing in the need to adopt and improve it. Only some pioneers on the local level—in villages, regions and cities—have been rethinking the way we “do” democracy. What can we learn from these examples/pioneers/thinkers like Vorarlberg’s citizen councils, the Swiss Operation Libero and participatory budgeting in German or Dutch towns? Based on this question I will examine some exemplary cases of democratic innovation in detail and analyse them in a book to be published in spring 2018.