Where do democracy and human rights stand in today's Europe?

Speech by Catherine Lalumière, President of the Association of the Schools of Political Studies, 1st International Alumni Seminar of the Schools of Political Studies, Strasbourg, 20 June 2014

Translated from French by Alexandra Jaraba


I – Where do democracy and human rights stand in today's Europe?

This question is worth asking in these terms because today, Europe, Greater Europe is going through a period of doubt and questioning, and Europeans, from both West and East are clearly troubled.

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Democracy through the looking-glass

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

By Jack Hanning
Secretary General of the European Association of Schools of Political Studies

When the Berlin Wall came down, 25 years ago, the fall of communism and the toppling of dictatorships sparked continent-wide euphoria. Peace, stability and democracy became by-words for a prosperous and bright European future. 

But the dream of a continent-wide democratic “wonderland” was short-lived as economic hardship, coupled with political uncertainties and military conflicts gradually engendered a sense of drift and gloom.

What has gone wrong and what can we do about it? 

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Prisoners of Criteria

Ilgar Mammadov - Prisoners of CriteriaBy Ilgar Mammadov, 29 January 2014

I must respond to the remarks made twice in the past seven months in Brussels by Azerbaijan’s absolutist ruler Ilham Aliyev about my situation as a prisoner.

Mr.Aliyev was right in justifying his repressive acts by what he called a “fiasco” of his opponents at the 23 January PACE voting. I shall add: a well-predicted fiasco.

Many years ago Baku has skillfully transformed the debate about political prisoners into a bureaucratic, that is non-political, discussion about technical criteria for the definition/ Moreover, the discussion it self went in the wrong direction of assessing a prisoner’s situation vis-à-vis law and other individuals, instead of focusing on the big political picture of justice.

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One Europe is in Danger

By Mikhail Minakov

President of the Foundation for Good Politics, Kyiv and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the Ukrainian National University of Kyiv‐Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA). Mikhail Minakov is the author of three books and over fifty articles on political and cultural analysis, philosophy and history. He is an alumnus of the Moscow School (2010) and of the Ukrainian School (2006).

The idea of One Europe is under threat once again. Today, the risk comes from consolidating post-Soviet authoritarianisms and their emerging friendship with ultra-conservative parties in EU member states.

Post-Soviet fragmented societies and self-defeating oligarchies have provided an accommodating environment for the development of corporate states with authoritarian rulers. Resources of the East are uniting to create an ultraconservative alternative to the modern and rights based Europe. This trend is a menace to the entire European space: both to the new nations of Eastern Europe as well as to the values of the longer established democracies.

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