The Conference "EU, Democracy and Civil Society", organised by the Institute of European Democrats with the financial support of the European Parliament, was held in Bratislava Friday 18 May, at the premises of the Pan-European University, with the participation of high-level speakers from European and local organization.
The debate pointed out how a strong civil society is an essential pillar of any democracy and is an asset in itself. By giving citizens a voice and by bringing additional knowledge to the decision-making process, civil society will bring added value to EU since it presents the plurality of interests and values of the Europeans.
The discussion was opened by the welcoming speech of Juraj Stern, Rector of the Pan-European University and the introductory remarks of Grigorij MESEŽNIKOV President of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) and Roberta Cancedda, on behalf of the Institute of European Democrats.
In the first-panel discussion, focused on "Civil Society in Transition: Slovak and Central European Experience", the participants were: Zora BÚTOROVÁ, Sociologist, Institute for Public Affairs; Boris STREČANSKÝ, Scholar and civic activist, Center for Philanthropy and Pavol DEMEŠ, Foreign-political analyst and civic activist, German Marshall Fund.
Whereas in the second panel, focused on "Building a stronger democratic and civic Europe: a plan for institutional change and citizens' involvement", the speakers were: Zsuzsanna SZELÉNYI, Former MP Hungary, member IED's Board of Directors and Alina DOBREVA, Member of the National Council of the political party Da Bulgaria.
Both sessions were moderated by Grigorij MESEŽNIKOV.
During the conclusions, the participants were actively engaged in a lively discussion and exchange by both panels of experts.