I was delighted to be invited to the ’48 Hours for Democracy’ event which is taking place in Brussels next week. It’s exciting to be part of such an important meeting of minds on Europe. Europa United is dedicated to the European concept of closer cooperation and I will be doing my best to get our message across at the event as well as finding out what everyone else is thinking about. But what is the event all about? have a read below to find out.

The ’48 Hours for Democracy’ takes place in the context of our ‘ALL for Democracy’ project, a pro-European alliance instigated by the European Movement International to support European cooperation and democracy, launched in Brussels in June 2017. In the run-up to the European Parliament elections in 2019, the ALL campaign aims to explore innovative, creative and inclusive ways to increase democratic participation in Europe and builds upon the input of stakeholders and experts from NGOs, businesses, local governments, trade unions, youth organisations, academia and citizen initiatives, across party lines and interests.

The event

The ’48 Hours for Democracy’ is a two-day brainstorm event which will bring together 100 action-oriented Europeans from all EU member states and from different sectors and backgrounds, giving them the opportunity to share best practices and to come up with fresh ideas through intense workshops and debates, all with the purpose to increase citizens’ say in the strong and democratic future of Europe. Bringing a diverse mix of inspiring and creative Europeans will lead to innovative proposals as to how we can re-energise our democracy. We don’t expect you to prepare anything – what we want is to leverage on the collective intelligence of the group and co-create together innovative ideas.


Participants will have the opportunity to spend 2 days together, share knowledge, be inspired by experts from different fields and co-create with people from different countries, backgrounds and areas of expertise. Divided into groups, each with a different focus, they will craft ways on how to reach different people, using different tools on different themes like ‘sustainability’, ‘participation’, ‘fairness’, ‘equality’ etc. Inspiration and preparation material will be shared with the participants in advance.

What to expect

It’s a highly interactive event that will keep participants busy from morning until night. On the morning of 15 February, we’ll start with a brief introduction, after which participants will be divided into groups, each with a challenge word. They will discuss the issues facing democracy in Europe, with the aim of creating some great ideas. After some discussion between groups, they will be able to choose which idea or ideas to work on for the rest of the event, leading up to the final session on Friday where each idea will be pitched to our panel of expert judges.

Sharing is caring

Just after the Democracy Mixer reception on Thursday night, there’s a chance to share expertise, ideas and challenges in a quick four-minute lightning talk. What can we share with the other participants from our work, personal or social life? What great things have we seen that should inspire us to think differently about Europe and democracy? What skill would we like to share? What thing would we like to teach each other? As long as it fits into 240 seconds, we are reday to hear!


As a result of the ’48 Hours for Democracy’, we will choose four to six winning ideas with potential to make a positive difference to citizen engagement in European democracy in the run up to the 2019 European Parliament election. The objective is to make them fit for practical implementation at the national and European level. The result will be shared with all participating organisations to provide them with concrete tools to be used in their work on national level ahead of the European elections. Further activities and events will be carried out throughout 2018 and up until May 2019.

Ken Sweeney
Committed to idea of supporting aspiring writers and journalists. Serial podcaster.

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