“We have to be an active part of our democracy, it doesn´t end with elections; it never ends”
Argyris, Mitja and Joanne are from Greece, Slovenia and the Netherlands respectively.
In our radio show we discuss with them the many aspects of European democracy
and we look for answers to the question, is Europe really as democratic as we think?
Being an active part of our democracies is essential in filling our roles as citizens.
European Democracy on Euradio Nantes:
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras recently stated to a German newspaper that
"Greek democracy stands before what is perhaps its greatest challenge."
Greece´s democracy is among other things endangered by the rise of the neo-nazi party Golden Dawn, and the staggering 25% unemployment rate has only increased the social crisis. The riots which have been going on in Athens are a violent demonstration of the extent of the internal crisis in Greece. Greek democracy may be in danger. But this then raises the question of our understanding of democracy in Europe in general, and whether our countries are really as democratic as we think. A democracy stands on fundamental pillars such as the guarantee of basic human rights, fair and
free elections and independent courts of law.
The Netherlands is unquestionably a democracy, but also has a far-right party called the “Party for Freedom” (the PVV) which is led by Geert Wilders who is extremely anti-Islam and anti-immigrants. His rhetoric and lack of respect of the basic principle of equality leads us to question whether the fundamental values of a democracy are truly ensured in our European countries at every level.
Slovenia has been a parliamentary representative democracy since its independence and was formerly known as the most liberal republic in Yugoslavia. But it still faces issues within its society with regards to Roma people and other minorities and its parliament is not fulfilling its role of guardian of democracy.
“I think that unless democratic habits of thought and action are part of the fiber of a people, political democracy in insecure. It cannot stand in isolation. It must be buttressed by the presence of democratic methods in all social relationships.”
(John Dewey "Democracy and Educational Administration,"School and Society 45 (April 3, 1937); 457-67)
Author: Hannah Sobocinski
Music by Valentin Lazarov and Simo Lazarov
Editor: Mila Zaharieva-Schmolke