While democracy’s core values are widely popular, many liberal-democratic systems find themselves under immense pressure: Democratic processes are being misused to enforce autocratic political regimes in many of Germany´s partner countries, simultaneously explicitly populist movements have been gaining vast momentum all over Europe. Additionally, basic trust into democratic institutions and their representatives seems to be crumbling in many places.
Within the framework of our democratic governmental system, political parties, nongovernmental organisations, as well as societal initiatives will play a central mediating role between the state and the public in the future. For political parties to stay attractive and be able to continuously shape the political system, they have to adjust to changing framework conditions and find new ways of codetermination for their followers. Furthermore, new concepts are necessary to guarantee participation of all members and followers in the political process. Besides these different types of societal engagement, changes in institutional arrangements also play a central role. Strengthening parliaments, ministries and administrations as a representative democracy’s core institutions, as well as discussing their alterability, will be crucial. Only in this manner can diverse societal interests be permanently and fairly balanced and populism countered.
What should the democracy of the future look like? Which institutional changes are required to cope with the challenges of a globalised and digital world? And how can we include people more effectively in political decision-making processes? The Democracy Lab brought together stakeholders from civil society, academia and politics in order to find answers to these questions. In our final report, we present our ideas, projects and results of the first project phase.
In this Policy Paper, Daniel Schade discusses a relatively new format to foster parliamentary cooperation in the EU: interparliamentary conferences (ICPs). He suggests multiple venues for reforming the present IPCs to facilitate the fulfillment of their objectives.
Policy fellow Katarzyna Anna Klimowicz evaluates a new phenomenon on the political scene in Europe: network parties. This paper identifies common features of network parties by looking at best practices and characteristics, especially in the organisational structure and political programmes.
How can technological advancement be shaped in a more socially compatible way? This and many more pressing questions will be addressed at this year’s Revision Summit on 19-20 November in Berlin. Das Progressive Zentrum is a partner of the event.
For the launch of the English and French versions of its study “Return to the politically abandoned: Conversations in right-wing populist strongholds in Germany and France,” Das Progressive Zentrum met with representatives from the European Policy Centre, the European Commission, as well as members of the media and the interested public in Brussels to discuss the study’s findings. Read the participants’ views and reactions here.
The study’s design and results have led to an overwhelmingly positive reception in Germany and created great interest in other countries. To take the debate to the European level, the study has now been translated into English and French
The Innovation in Politics Awards are presented annually to honour courageous and creative political work throughout Europe – regardless of party or country. This year, 9 political projects from Germany made it to the finals. An international jury of 1,053 European citizens selected 80 finalists from more than 600 nominations. The winners will be announced at a gala event in November in Vienna.
A total of 16 outstanding progressive thinkers and practitioners will add to the intellectual life within the think-tank in our three programme areas “International Relations”, “Future of Democracy” and “Structural Change”, and elaborate on new thematic threads such as “Digital Democracy”, “Corporate Citizenship” and “Democratic Debate Culture”.
Sophie Pornschlegel and Robert Schütte explain what the coalition dispute in Germany means on a national and European level in interviews with the BBC and the Spanish newspaper “La Razón.“ Johannes Hillje discusses political ‘framing’ in three major news outlets, pointing out the dangers of expressions like “transit centres” and “asylum tourism.” And Fedor Ruhose explains how established parties should compete against their right-wing populist contestants in this year’s regional elections in an op-ed in “Frankfurter Rundschau.”
Re-watch all sessions on the main stage at the Innocracy – Conference.
Where there is language, there is usually also subtext – especially when it gets political. The concept of “framing” in political analysis describes how such subtext is created in political language in order to carry certain messages, thereby suggesting simple solutions by playing with the associations language evokes.
On Thursday, 28 June 2018, more than 150 participants and 30 session hosts from eight countries discussed visions and models to drive politics and civil society towards “The Next Democracy” at Kalkscheune, Berlin. The keynote speech “Changing politics? We change politics!” was held by Family Minister Franziska Giffey.
What happened at the Speaker’s Dinner of the Innocracy in Berlin? Have a look at the picture gallery.
In his discussion paper “Beyond (this) democracy — seven sketches towards a new democratic purpose”, Hanno Burmester explores the current crisis of our political system and challenges established perspectives on democracy. He argues that what it takes to both solve the crises and revitalise democracy is the re-definition of a 21st-century democratic purpose and a radical, transformative approach to politics.
“The question is not how to stop the populists, but how to strengthen liberal democracy”
On Monday, 28 May, Das Progressive Zentrum hosted a roundtable with two internationally renowned scholars, Peter Hall and Cas Mudde. To discuss populist politics, its effects on social cohesion and the future of liberal democracy, they were be joined by two experts on democracy: Marieluise Beck and Hedwig Richter. The event was chaired by foreign policy expert Constanze Stelzenmüller.
Roundtable on: Populist politics, its effects on social cohesion and the future of liberal democracy
Das Progressive Zentrum will host a roundtable with two internationally renowned scholars, Peter Hall and Cas Mudde. To discuss populist politics, its effects on social cohesion and the future of liberal democracy, they will be joined by two experts on democracy Marieluise Beck and Hedwig Richter. The event is chaired Constanze Stelzenmüller and will be streamed live on our Facebook page.
On 28 June, the Democracy Lab of Das Progressive Zentrum will host the second Innocracy – Conference in Berlin.
Keynote held at the European Media Seminar in Berlin, 28 April 2018
In the febrile contemporary political climates of many Western democracies, journalists have been increasingly seen as part of the political story rather than simply its narrators. Insurgent ‘populist’ political movements have placed major media organisations at the centre of their anti-establishment critique, while opposing forces have posited ‘media complicity’ in the promotion of divisive discourses and populist misinformation. All the while, traditional media organisations are being rocked by deep structural and technological change that is fundamentally shifting the practice of journalism and changing their relationship with an increasingly sceptical and polarised public.
While much has been written and discussed about the media’s role in the ‘populist turn’ in Western democracies, the actual experience of journalists in responding to these turbulent political times has been little explored. The following analysis, therefore, aims to foreground the perspectives of print, broadcast, and online journalists working in the UK – and to contrast these against the experiences of the German media, through a case study prepared by Das Progressive Zentrum in Berlin.
In selecting these countries, we assess how the evolution of journalism practice has played out in two quite distinct media and political systems, particularly through a focus on two unique recent operating contexts: the European Referendum in the UK and the refugee and migrant crisis in Germany. We explore the extent to which traditional norms of journalistic practice share natural affinities with populist politics and discourses, and ask in what ways can journalists be better supported and equipped to critically engage with divisive political movements in the digital age.
One year after the first #EuropeanTownHall Meeting in Warsaw, the second bilateral Polish-German exchange was launched on 12 February 2018. Representatives of academia, civil society, and culture from Germany and Poland met to discuss the rise of populism in Europe as well as possible democratic innovations to address this phenomenon. An open debate with Manuel Sarrazin was concluded with an input by Paul Mason, offering a broader, global perspective.