JEF Europe Press release: Democracy under pressure pan-European Action
Democracy is under pressure
The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) are deeply concerned about the fact that democracy and the rule of law are threatened all over the European continent.
For ten years now, on the 18th of March, the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) have been organising a pan European “Free Belarus Action” – which switched in 2014 into the “Democracy under Pressure Action”. While raising awareness of the last dictatorship in Europe and last European state to apply the death penalty is still very important, we must realise that the threats to democracy are taking place across the continent.
The astonishing rise of populism across Europe, the inadequate and often appalling reactions to the dramatic refugees crisis by national governments – especially at the Macedonian – Greek border, and the Russian pressure on countries in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood, are putting at risk European core values of freedom of speech, peace, rule of law and democracy.
The Young European Federalists want to stress the commitment of the European Union to the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights as core value of its foundation. This commitment must be valued and prioritised over all other interests. JEF Europe therefore welcomes that the European Commission launched a rule of law probe with regard to the recent legislative changes in Poland. JEF Europe equally urges the European Commission to take action on other Member States who are in breach of these principles.
Unfortunately, Poland, and Hungary before it, are not the only frightening scarce examples in the middle of a continent in crisis, also on the democratic level. “We see anti-democratic behaviour emerging throughout the entire continent and taking all sort of forms. We need to be more careful than ever if we want to defend and preserve our values of peace, democracy, and living together. Everybody – from citizens to the political elites – have to take responsibility”, says Ophélie Omnes, Vice-President of JEF.
Giving Europe a voice to fight for its values
In order to highlight this complex reality, JEF Europe will organise a pan-European action on the 18th March, whose theme “It’s time to act” reflects the need for everyone to be included and take part in the defence of democracy wherever on the continent.
“Don’t see, don’t hear, don’t speak” – that is the motto of the multi-faceted action. The motto reflects the diversity of possible actions that day. “We want to give our sections the possibility to express themselves in the way that fits the democratic situation in their country best.”, explains Omnes. “If we want this Europe to be relevant for its citizens, we must first defend the values it stands for”, she concludes.
Please find the PR in .pdf here.