Supporting 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.


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Oleg Sentsov awarded 2018 Sakharov Prize

European Parliament Antonio Tajani, Oleg Sentsov's cousin Natalya Kaplan and Sentsov's lawyer Dmitri Dinze stand behind an empty chair in the European Parliament's hemicycle during the award ceremony

Sentsov was represented by an empty chair at the ceremony © European Union (2018) - European Parliament

The Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleg Sentsov was awarded the European Parliament's 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg on 12 December 2018.

An empty chair symbolised the laureate's absence. Sentsov, convicted by a Russian military court of plotting terrorist acts, has been imprisoned since 2015.

A native of Crimea, the filmmaker had protested against the Russian occupation of the peninsula before his arrest.

Awarding the prize, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani called Sentsov "a symbol of the struggle for the release of political prisoners held in Russia and around the world".

Sentsov's cousin, Natalya Kaplan, and lawyer, Dmitri Dinze, accepted the award on his behalf.

Conference on the future of election observation

10-11 October 2018, Brussels

Roger Nkodo Dang, Mairead McGuinness and Federica Mogherini speak animatedly during a pauce in the conference

Roger Nkodo Dang, Mairead McGuinness and Federica Mogherini - © European Union (2018) - European Parliament

Through a series of panel debates, more than 400 participants - including MEPs, former heads of state, national parliamentarians, representatives of international organisations, election observers, donors and civil society - addressed the major challenges confronting electoral observation and the integrity of democratic elections.