International Democracy Week 2020: how democracy is dealing with COVID-19

MEPs and representatives of institutions, governments and NGOs will gather on 14-17 September to debate the challenges the pandemic poses to democratic systems.

The spread of COVID-19 in 2020 has not only put people’s lives in danger, but has also transformed how they work, communicate and make political decisions.

International Democracy Week comprises a series of events and workshops on global democracy and the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held online from 14 to 17 September and is organised by the European Parliament and several non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in order to highlight the repercussions of the current crisis on democracy and fundamental freedoms.

International Democracy Day 2020

In celebration of International Democracy Day on Tuesday, 15 September, MEPs and representatives of EU institutions, governments and NGOs will come together to debate the European and international response to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on democracy. Among the speakers will be European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová.

The other sessions, kicking off on Monday 14 September, will range from conversations on COVID-19 and the future of international democracy support to thematic workshops on parliaments, political parties, independent media and infodemics, democratic innovations and tech policy and the latest developments in Belarus.

Prominent speakers

Among the several speakers this year: European Parliament Vice-President Heidi Hautala (The Greens/EFA, Finland), former Slovenian President Danilo Türk, Venezuelan opposition politician Julio Borges and Swedish State Secretary to the Minister for International Development Cooperation Per Olsson Fridh, as well as heads of international organisations, members of parliament, journalists, democracy and foreign policy experts and practitioners.

European Parliament President David Sassoli and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will also address the participants during the high-level meeting held on the afternoon of Tuesday 15 September.

“Global Democracy and COVID-19: Upgrading International Support”

To inspire discussions, the series will also mark the launch of the Report “Global Democracy and COVID-19: Upgrading International Support”, which examines how international democracy support organisations and donors are responding to the challenges related to the pandemic. It was drafted at the initiative of the European Endowment for Democracy and supported by 11 democracy organisations.

Check out the programme and register for the conference here.

All sessions will be streamed live on the Parliament’s website.

Also, read more here.

During the events, you can chat with the organisers on YouTube.

To submit questions to any panel before the events please contact us at or use the hashtag #DemocracyWeek2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a pivotal year for European and international leadership on democracy, in which the actions of today will shape the world of tomorrow. As such, this year’s International Democracy Week will focus on what we can do to strengthen democracy and foster democratic innovation.

The NGOs organising these events with the European Parliament are the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the European Endowment for Democracy, the European Partnership for Democracy, the European Network of Political Foundations and Carnegie Europe.