Supporting democracy around the globe 

PHOTO - © Ezequiel Scagnetti 

The European Parliament supports democracy around the world.

Actively supporting the European Union’s international efforts to promote democracy and human rights is one of the European Parliament’s core responsibilities, set out in in the EU’s founding treaties.

This work also benefits EU citizens, whose place at home is strengthened by a fairer, more stable world.

A dedicated group

The European Parliament has created a dedicated group of MEPs who oversee the Parliament’s work on democracy beyond the EU’s borders.

This group, which includes the chairs of several relevant committees, ensures that all their colleagues’ efforts in this area are coherent and effective.

Observing elections

Because elections build democracies and raise public trust in institutions, the European Parliament is committed to supporting free and fair elections.

The Parliament has observed elections in countries outside the EU for over 30 years. More than 170 short-term election observation delegations have travelled to different countries around the world.

Many of these assignments reinforce longer-term observation projects organised by the EU and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

When MEPs join the effort, they bring first-hand knowledge of political campaigns and electoral processes. This brings credibility – and visibility – to the final evaluation.

Mediating and encouraging dialogue

The EU is working to prevent conflicts before they occur, to intervene when crises escalate and to support peace and democracy after conflicts subside.

MEPs contribute to this effort by

  • mediating between members of foreign parliaments,
  • helping political parties prevent conflicts,
  • promoting inter-party dialogue and building consensus,
  • organising international events focused on mediation and conflict prevention.

Reinforcing other parliaments

The European Parliament provides programmes for parliaments and parliamentarians around the world.

Support programmes concentrate on the EU’s neighbourhood and certain countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America – as well as on regional parliaments.

Programmes aim to

  • strengthen the main functions of parliaments – representing citizens, overseeing government and making laws,
  • reform parliamentary institutions,
  • share the best parliamentary practices.

The European Parliament also reaches out to future generations of elected representatives.

Focusing on south-eastern Europe

The European Parliament has a specific programme for the parliaments of Turkey and the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo).

Strengthening the region’s national parliaments and encouraging their cooperation advances democracy in the region. It also plays a role in the EU enlargement process, which requires that countries joining the EU have strong democratic institutions.

Local MPs and civil servants benefit from the European Parliament’s programmes.