Budapest Forum 2023 - Keynote speech – Didier Reynders: Towards re-democratization – Challenges and Opportunities within and Beyond the EU



  • Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice

Main takeaways

  • The rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy are fundamental values that bind the European Union.
  • As history has shown that democracy can be vulnerable, we constantly need to protect and promote democracy in the EU, especially in the run-up to the European elections in June next year. Promoting discussion on EU topics and ensuring that citizens have access to information on the European Union is essential to support their participation.
  • The Commission is supporting the member states to prepare for free, fair and resilient elections and to protect the electoral process against threats, such as cyber-attacks.
  • The European Cooperation Network on Elections is actively working with national authorities on this. The joint resilience mechanism enables exchanges between Member State’s experts on issues such as disinformation and cybersecurity.
  • There will also be a dedicated event in October to prepare for the EU elections with national experts who will have the opportunity to share best practices and information.
  • In addition, the Commission’s legislative proposal on political advertising aims to provide common standards for the transparency of political ads and to limit opaque targeting techniques.
  • The Commission is also preparing a „Defense of Democracy” Package. It would provide for common transparency standards, to protect democracies from covert foreign interference. It would encourage inclusive civic engagement and citizens’ participation to boost democratic resilience and trust, and also include recommendations to prepare for the European Parliament elections.
  • The Commission’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values program also supports projects that sustain democratic societies based on the rule of law.