#DemocracyUnderPressure: Democracy is under attack, time to act!

, by Christelle Savall

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] [polski] [română]

#DemocracyUnderPressure: Democracy is under attack, time to act!
Demonstration against the war in Ukraine in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, March 2022. Credits: JEF-Europe.

TNF supports JEF-Europe’s campaign #DemocracyUnderPressure that this year will take place from the 18th to the 25th of March.

This year, we are reminded of the consequences of authoritarian regimes: the attack on Ukraine is an attack on all European democracies. JEF has been raising awareness of the current state of democracy and standing up and speaking up for those who are silenced since 2006. This campaign started as the “Free Belarus” action to raise awareness about the Lukashenka regime, often considered “the last dictatorship in Europe”. However, in the last decade, European values have been increasingly compromised by illiberalism, populism and xenophobia across governments and societies in Europe. As we believe an attack on the Rule of Law in one country is an attack on our own, the action was rebranded in 2014 as the campaign that we are promoting today. Now not only is democracy under pressure, it is under attack. The action week of “Democracy Under Pressure” is taking place from 18th to the 25th March.

No Peace Without Democracy

There can be no peace without democracy as there can be no democracy without peace. A democratic Russia would not have invaded Ukraine in the first place. So-called “frozen conflicts” remain conflicts, like volcanos can stay asleep until they unleash destruction and misery anew. A topic fading in the media doesn’t mean the need to stand up disappears, on the contrary. Those who forgot about the fight for Free Belarus see today the consequences of so many second chances at democracy given to the dictatorship regime in Belarus.

It is not so much our “way of life” that needs to be defended but our values. Stand up for our values comes at a cost, but to be a true foreign actor in Europe and beyond, the EU has to pay it.

If “Whatever it takes” was the operative sentence for saving the euro, the current one would be “whatever the cost”. We citizens ask to pay whatever the cost to stand up for democracy, for peace, for fundamental rights and freedoms.

With the war raging in Ukraine, we hear what we have been advocating for years in JEF growing if not becoming common sense in the public sphere: that Ukraine has a European destiny, that the Union should stand for its values, to quote only a few. This is why we have started the EU-kraine petition to demand that the European Union and its Member States finally take the needed steps, give a clear accession path to countries willing to join as well as give the EU the teeth it so desperately needs to defend all of us.

Join the campaign on the ground and online from 18th to 25th of March

Peace is the reason we take on the federalist path, federalism is the solution we got! Democracy, freedom, our values, fundamental rights are all preconditions for the Federal Europe we stand for. If those can sound abstract it is up to us to break those concepts down and raise awareness of the current threats. How can you do that?

Go to the streets! Gag statues, clap for democracy, organise awareness-raising activities debates, partner up with other associations and activists. Stand for democracy and stand with Ukraine like our sections have done since the war erupted, like we have been standing with Free Belarus since the start.

Speak out for democracy online! Using the #DemocracyUnderPressure, share information about democracy, videos, amplify voices from Ukraine, from JEF and from democracy activists. Take part in our twitter chat with Euractiv on 24th March at 12:30pm CET. You will find all the information about the campaign in our infokit.

Take it to conventional media! Share the press release, feel free to translate it, share the statement with national and local media. Check out The New Federalist’s special feature on democracy, with a range of articles, podcasts and videos.

As we said last year for the 15th anniversary of the campaign, Democracy under Pressure is not just a campaign but a commitment. It is a commitment we make as JEF Europe that year after year, for as long as needed, we will take the streets and speak for those that are silenced. We will stand up for rule of law and fundamental rights, we will stand up for peace, we will stand up for democracy!

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