Budapest Forum 2023 - Keynote speech - Jan Philipp Albrecht: Safeguarding Democracy in Europe



  • Jan Philipp Albrecht, President, Heinrich-Böll Stiftung

Main takeaways

  • For a sustainable democracy, respecting and understanding the importance of our societies' long-debated and worked-out basic principles is just as important as respecting international law and rule-based order.
  • In 1848, many revolutions took place in Europe, aiming to bring forward principles of democracy, republicanism, and rule-based order to ensure democracy. Even though the Hungarian revolution was not successful, it was also one of the main building blocks of developing democracies in Europe and globally.
  • The principles these revolutions were calling for, which refer to how political power has to be controlled, sometimes get into the background today, believing that democracy is only about getting a majority at the elections.
  • Even in Germany, the basic principles are being questioned, as many people lose their interest in them and their understanding of them.
  • It seems that there is a lack of understanding of the basic principles of communicating and that we are one community. Basic principles should be the base of societal debates.
  • We need to get back to these common principles, and to do it, it is important to make clear to people the benefits of a constructive decision-making process based on principles of democracy, the rule of law, and republican values, and also that progress and change have positive effects.
  • Everybody must be invited to take part in the debates on how we can construct our societies together and how we want to build sustainable democracies. To do this, we must develop ideas and build alliances.