Democracy and participation

“We need to talk”


Who is behind this?

Anja Ostermann

labconcepts GmbH


Who is joining forces?

Sofia Platform


Idea Sketch


Idea pitch

Trust in the problem-solving capacity of democracy and its representatives is shrinking. This is particularly the case in younger democracies of Eastern Europe. Research shows that one way of restoring trust in democracy in post-communist Europe is with the intergenerational ‘before/after 89’ dialogue, focused on a specific issue with relevance for the community. It (re)builds confidence in citizens that as opposed to pre-89, there are democratic tools in place to influence public policy.

Where will your idea take place?

Pernik, Bulgaria and a city in East Germany, probably Meißen

Why does Europe need your idea?

In post-communist Europe citizens have little trust in and knowledge of the democratic instruments at hand to influence policy making. Democratic empowerment works best through practical work on an issue citizens care about. Air pollution is a problem affecting population health and quality.

What is your impact?

Two communities, one in Bulgaria and one in East Germany that struggle with air pollution will be assisted in finding ways of changing their situation. Empowering citizens to seize initiative is especially important in post-communist Europe where citizens still expect the state to take care of them.

How do you get there?

We plan to bring together people aged 18-24 and 55+ for series of moderated meetings in 2 communities (DE&BG) and 2 (international) exchange meetings. This setting offers space for different perspectives and values, as well as exchange of knowledge and memories on dealing with public policies. Our aim is to show that citizens can influence the policy-making process and that democratic mechanisms are in place to help arrive at solutions on issues of relevance to all age groups in society.

What is your story?

Democratic disenchantment is based on lack of positive experience/knowledge about democratic tools,esp. in post-communist Europe. The Intergenerational face-to-face dialogue has proved effective to foster active citizenship/counter nostalgia while tackling issues of direct impact on people's lives.

Who are you doing it for?

Citizens aged 18-24 & 55+ who feel excluded. We’d involve policy makers, MEPs, experts from the energy and transportation industries to discuss barriers and possibilities for improvement. This can ‘spin the democratic wheel’ of civic activism, while fostering values of entrepreneurship and community

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

We would like to hear from friends and colleagues across Europe about their experience with different democratic empowerment methods on the community levels, especially in post-communist societies and their sustainability strategies.


labconcepts GmbH

Idea created on Jan. 16, 2018
Last edit on Jan. 19, 2018

Write comment