Proposes new legal instrument on education for democracy

A High-Level Reflection Group of the Council of Europe suggests developing a new legal instrument on education for democracy based on the Reference Framework of Competences for a Culture of Democracy.

The report on the future of the Council of Europe presents thirty recommendations to enable the Council of Europe to respond effectively to the challenges presented by the war in Ukraine.

The Group underlines that in addition to a terrible war unfolding on European soil as a result of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, Europe is facing a whole range of substantial challenges:

“Democratic backsliding, undermining the rule of law, and challenges to our human rights protection system are on the rise. Democracy is in distress. Ensuring democratic security and a strong culture of democracy are key for member states to address these challenges together and to secure peace and prosperity in Europe,” the report maintains.

The group, which was chaired by Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson, further stresses that democracy and democratic citizenship must be taught in schools to create a strong culture of democracy. To reach this goal, the group suggests developing “a new legal instrument on education for democracy based on the Reference Framework of Competences for a Culture of Democracy in order to strengthen the democratic culture in our member states and give further impetus to its implementation”.

“Education is one of the main roads to defend and strengthen our democracies. The European Wergeland Centre welcomes the report from the High-Level Reflection Group and looks forward to strengthening our work with the Council of Europe and its members states to promote a culture of democracy in and through education,” says EWC Executive Director Ana-Perona Fjeldstad.

On 8 June, two weeks after Ireland assumed the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the organisation’s Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić appointed a seven member High-Level Reflection Group (HLRG) on the future of the Council of Europe. Including six former Heads of State or Government and/or Foreign Ministers, the group comprised:   

  • Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
  • Bernard Cazeneuve, former Prime Minister of France
  • Iveta Radičová, former Prime Minister of Slovakia
  • Evangelos Venizelos, former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece
  • Federica Mogherini, former High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission and former Foreign Minister of Italy
  • Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, former Foreign Minister of Norway
  • Josep Dallerès Codin, former General Syndic (Speaker) of Andorra