How to Restart a Grassroots Democratic Movement

The opportunities and limits of free cities as the backbone for the democratic reinvention of the EU

20 April 2023

Adrian Mihaltianu

Marcin Król Fellow

EU citizens are disengaged from the political process, but they do still support democracy. Local civic engagement on projects without political agenda can build bridges and restart a grassroots democratic movement across Europe.

Electoral signs are pointing to a worrying trend, that citizens in Europe are fed up with the current political system. Parliamentary democracy is in a tough spot: while Europeans constantly invoke their love for democracy in poll after poll, their trust in the very institutions that are called to uphold democracy is plummeting.

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Across Central and Eastern Europe, voter turnout for parliamentary elections is low – between 60-70 per cent in countries like Poland, Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia, and even less than 40 per cent in Romania and Bulgaria. This favours the rise of populist and extremist parties while undermining the legitimacy of governments.

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Adrian Mihaltianu

Marcin Król Fellow

Marcin Król Fellow 2022/2023 at Visegrad Insight and a journalist with more than 17 years of experience, both in editorial and management teams for medium-sized and large media companies. Currently coordinating PressOne.ro, an independent, in-depth solutions journalism project bringing light on major issues in Romania and abroad.

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