While encouraging the initiative of the meeting, the Pope has developed some ideas that we resume in the lines below.

- 1 Politics must be conceived as a high form of charity or, rather, as an invaluable service of dedication to the accomplishment of the common good of society. Politics is therefore not at the service of individual ambitions, factionalism and interests. We must not oppose service and power, but power must be subordinated to service so as not to degenerate.

- 2 The common good is the set of social conditions that enable both groups and each of their members to achieve perfection in a more total and easy way (Gaudium et Spes, § 26

The forum focused on democracy crisis and populism.

The breeding ground of populism.

- The marginalization of certain populations, victims of economic violence. The exclusion of his community, pushes people to lose all rationality and to join a new community, to radicalize.
- Corruption, which allows access to power, but discredits those who use it.
- Social networks that allow the expression of hatred and lies with irresponsible authors.
- The media that choose headlines based on what citizens want to hear,
- A dull, rational and irrational anxiety, in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 in the USA and those that followed, with a feeling of a loss of control.
- The Russians want to destroy the post-Cold War global system. There are factories of false information.

CoE : Venice Commission invites the President of Ukraine to submit a revised draft law on anti-corruption courts to Parliament, based on its recommendations.

In its opinion on the draft law on anti-corruption courts in Ukraine adopted today, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) said that many of the provisions of the draft law provide a good basis for the establishment of a high specialised anti-corruption court, but made several recommendations to reduce the risk that it could be considered unconstitutional. In order to dispel any doubts about the constitutionality of the legislative procedure, the Venice Commission invites the President of Ukraine to promptly submit his own draft law on anti-corruption courts – which should be based on the Venice Commission’s recommendations. The current draft law (Draft Law No. 6011) thus needs to be withdrawn.

In an opinion adopted today, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) assessed the extent to which Turkey’s Emergency Decree Laws – passed in the wake of the failed 2016 coup attempt – include measures that go beyond what is permitted by international standards and the Turkish constitution.

As stated in previous opinions regarding these laws, the Venice Commission again acknowledges the need for certain extraordinary steps taken by Turkish authorities to face a dangerous armed conspiracy.

However, as highlighted in previous opinions – the Turkish authorities have interpreted these extraordinary powers too extensively.

On 10 October 2017, the Conference of INGOs, in collaboration with the International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT), one of its members, is organising a debate entitled: "Return of the death penalty in Europe: genuine threat or populist fiction?", aimed at strengthening and better coordinating the fight against the threat of a return of the death penalty in Europe.

The Conference of INGOs remains convinced that the death penalty is not the solution and that the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) as well as its additional Protocols 6 and 13 should be defended in all circumstances.

Please register by 5 October 2017  using the online registration formParticipation is subject to the number of available places.

Is Populism a Problem ?

Strasbourg, 8-10 November 2017

The 2017 World Forum for Democracy will focus on the role of political parties and media in the context of rising populism. A growing disconnect between citizens and political elites and dramatic changes in the media ecosystem are a challenge for democracy as we know it. New political and media actors and practices are emerging, offering opportunities for direct, unmediated engagement of the public, unbound by ethical or institutional safeguards. How can pluralism, freedom of expression, and fair and evidence-based public debate be safeguarded in these new conditions? How to nourish political culture which embraces a long-term perspective and resists the excesses of populism?

Read more: Concept paper


France is in an electoral year : presidential elections in April-May, and parlamientary elections in June. There is, in France like in many other countries, a raising wawe of populist political forces. Quality of democracy is at stake ! In this context, the French Bishops Conference has issued a statement. Well received by the French medias and the public opinion, including outside of the catholic circles... read here 

     If I were to indicate what feeling prevails today in western societies, I'd say fear. Often unacknowledged or exorcised through displays of security and strength, fear hides in the thoughts of many people, in the decisions of entire populations, in turn back to ideologies that we thought were no longer occupy the scenario of our countries. Afraid, we try to give a name to identify an enemy to fight and to whom to attribute the faults of many social problems that we cannot solve. This enemy is identified as external to us: the Isis, monster that creates cruel children also in our well-ordered society; foreign, invading our lands and feeding new social tensions; European bureaucracy which oppresses our lives with rules made to limit our freedom.