EED10 Years Supporting Democracy

14 September 2020-17 September 2020 14:00 to 16:00
Location Online

Democracy Week | Overcoming Adversity, Innovating Democracy

14 September 2020 - 17 September 2020 14:00 to 16:00

“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens more than the lives and the livelihoods of people throughout the world. It is also a political crisis that threatens the future of liberal democracy. It represents a formidable global challenge to democracy.  Authoritarians around the world see the crisis as a new political battleground in their fight to stigmatize democracy as feeble and reverse its dramatic gains of the past few decades. The COVID-19 crisis is an alarming wake-up call, an urgent warning that the freedoms we cherish are at risk and that we must not take them for granted.”
(A Call to Defend Democracy, June 2020)

2020 has thus become a pivotal year for European and international leadership on democracy, in which the actions of today will shape the world of tomorrow. As such, this year’s celebration of International Democracy Day will focus on what we can do to strengthen democracy and foster democratic innovation.

 The International Democracy Week is a series of high-level events and workshops on global democracy and the pandemic, taking place online from 14 to 17 September, organised by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, European Endowment for Democracy, European Partnership for Democracy, European Network of Political Foundations, and Carnegie Europe, in partnership with the European Parliament.

To inspire discussions, the series will also mark the launch of the Report “Global Democracy and COVID-19: Upgrading International Support”. It assesses the impact that Covid-19 is having on democracy around the world and examines how international democracy support organisations and donors are responding to the challenges related to the pandemic. The Report was drafted at the initiative of the European Endowment for Democracy and supported by 11 democracy organisations, including organising partners of the International Democracy Week.


 You can register here.


The European Endowment for Democracy will feature the following panels:

  • The impact of Covid-19 on media – rise of infodemics? | Wednesday,16 September 15:00-16:15 (CET)

In recent years, disinformation and misinformation have become the dark realities of our increasingly connected and technologically advanced world. During the Covid-19, disinformation reached new heights with an avalanche of false information, distorted facts and crude conspiracy theories about the virus. Today, we increasingly talk of an ‘infodemic’, a term first coined in 2003 during the SARS outbreak to describe the story of both the viral and the information epidemics.

Malign disinformation campaigns emanating in particular from Russia, Iran and China have attempted to blame the West for the coronavirus outbreak in recent months and have accused it of being unable to tackle the crisis. Their narratives look increasingly similar, with disinformation stories attempting to instrumentalise the health crisis and undermine public trust in democratic countries. 

Thid media expert panel will take stock of the post-Corona media landscape, analyse the impact of Covid-19 infodemics on democracy and try to establish how to combat this phenomenon.


  • Natalia Antelava, Co-founder and editor-in-chief, Media start-up Coda Story
  • Sami Ben Gharbia, Co-founder, Tunisian independent media outlet Nawaat
  • Peter Pomerantsev, Visiting Senior fellow, LSE, Producer, Author of “Nothing is true and everything is possible


  • Bernard Guetta, Member of European Parliament

You can watch the event here

An event report for this panel is available here.


  • Belarus - A new democracy in the making? | Thursday, 17 September 10:30 – 12:00 (CET)

The run-up and immediate aftermath of the presidential elections in Belarus in 2020 have made international headlines in recent weeks. Electoral fraud, popular dissatisfaction with Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the country’s economic and social challenges, excessive violence against the peaceful protesters have resulted in an unprecedented social and political mobilization of society. The citizens of Belarus are demanding change and have come out to the streets of the country’s cities in large numbers for the first time since the fall of the USSR. It is clear that an important and seemingly irreversible social change is taking place.

This session will focus on the current situation of Belarus with policymakers and stakeholders in Brussels and Europe, as well as Belarusian and European experts and activists

  • Introduction by David McAllister, MEP, chair of AFET committee
  •  Keynote speech by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, candidate in Belarus 2020 presidential elections, followed by a short Q&A
  • Statement by Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, Representative of Germany to the Political and Security Committee of the EU



  • Ales Bialiatski, Civil society expert
  • Hanna Liubakova, Journalist
  • Dietmar Köster, MEP


  • Miriam Lexmann, MEP 

You can watch the event here.

An event report for this panel is available here.

Event Report

14 September 2020

Global Democracy and the Coronavirus Fallout

15 September 2020

15:00 - 16:30
European and international responses to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on democracy
18:00 - 19:30
Democracy and Tech policy – what COVID-19 has taught us

16 September 2020

15:00 - 16:15
The impact of Covid-19 on media – rise of infodemics?
17:00 - 18:30
Political parties in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic

17 September 2020

10:30 - 12:00
Belarus - A new democracy in the making?
14:30 - 16:00
Parliaments’ responses to the pandemic: are virtual parliaments here to stay?

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