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“Democracy Under Pressure” - Action Week - JEF Europe calls citizens to action

When the Founding Fathers and Mothers set out to establish what would become today’s European Union, the objective was clear: “the realisation of the first concrete foundation of a European Federation, indispensable to the preservation of peace”. The EU was born out of the wars that had torn apart the communities that make up its Member States: political integration would make the possibility of war physically impossible, so that such tragic events would never repeat themselves.


And yet, for years now, a spectre has been haunting Europe. Illiberal, nationalist and authoritarian temptations have spread across national Governments and our society. In many countries human rights are steadily undermined by those who are supposed to safeguard them: freedom of press, of assembly and association; the independence of the judiciary and the Rule of Law; our very own European democratic structures are under pressure, being twisted and drained of their substance.


Therefore, the goal of the annual "Democracy under pressure" campaign is to draw attention to the systematic weakening of democratic values, to raise awareness about the situation in several European countries, as well as to show solidarity within our own JEF family. In 2020, the relevant action week takes place between March 16-22.


Since 2006, JEF Europe has been organising the “Free Belarus Action” to raise awareness about the Lukashenko regime, characterized as the "last dictatorship" in Europe. The threat to democracy is unfortunately not only coming from dictators in post-Soviet states, but from various groups and situations all over the continent. That’s why the “Free Belarus Action” was rebranded in 2014 to the “Democracy under Pressure Action” to include the alarming developments that put pressure on fundamental democratic values such as the freedom of speech and rule of law in several European countries, not only Belarus. The action week aims to draw attention to democratic values systematically being weakened, wants to raise awareness about the situation in several European countries, as well as to show solidarity within our own JEF family.


More statements and actions by JEF Europe on the topic 


Resolution regarding the protection of rule of law (August 2019)

JEF Europe and JEF Poland Joint Statement on the Rule of Law in Poland (December 2017)

JEF Europe and JEF Poland call upon European institutions to defend rule of law  (July 2017)

Commission starts infringement procedure on Hungary: JEF calls for launch of Art. 7 procedure (May 2017)

JEF Europe and AEGEE Europe call upon the European Commission and the European Council to take action towards the Hungarian attacks on the CEU (April 2017)

Open Letter to the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko (March 2017)

Situation in Poland: JEF Europe calls upon EU national governments to respect core democratic values (March  2016)