“This is a great day for us. We have been working towards it for a long time. And today we have in this room some of the best democracy experts I am aware of.” With these words Chiara Adamo, Head of the Unit on Human Rights, Gender Equality and Democratic Governance at DG INTPA, opened the First Team Europe Democracy (TED) Network Annual Meeting in Brussels. The event, which took place on June 21, was attended by around 130 representatives of EU institutions, EU Member States and European civil society organisations and practitioners.
Chiara Adamo explained the objective of the Team Europe Democracy Initiative, which is a global thematic Team Europe Initiative launched in December 2021 by 14 Member States (Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) and the EU Commission to improve support to democracy and human rights worldwide. The TED Initiative has three pillars. The first one is the research pillar and is called Supporting Team Europe Democracy (STED) and is implemented by International IDEA, European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), Carnegie Europe and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The second is the Network itself and the third pillar consists of pilot interventions to support the work of EU and EU Member States in partner countries.
According to Ms. Adamo, the TED Network is a key pillar of the TED Initiative. It acts as an interface mechanism between the EU institutions and EU Member States and like-minded European organisations and networks sharing democratic values, seeking to engage with each other on the latest evidence on democracy support, and to improve joint programming, monitoring, implementation and evaluation of their interventions as well as their approaches.
“We want the TED Network to become a safe space to work together. We aim at developing partnerships with democracy experts and organisations to build up our future actions and to have a bigger impact on the ground”, Ms. Adamo added.
The First TED Network Annual Meeting started in the morning with a gathering of the TED Steering Committee composed of representatives of the Member States which created the TED Initiative together with the European Commission. They discussed and adopted key guidelines for operationalization of the TED Network and its working groups.
The rest of the day was dedicated to the TED Network meeting and included further plenary sessions, group work and lively discussions about the priorities of the TED Network working groups. The main objectives were network building, providing members of the TED Network a space to share their expectations, as well as key topics and milestones of the workplans. The three working groups address the priority themes of the TED Initiative, namely Accountability and Rule of Law; Political and Civic Participation; and Media and Digitalization.
In the closing session, Thomas Millar, Head of the Democratic Governance Section at DG INTPA, G.1, emphasized the importance and the ambitions of the TED Initiative: “Don’t underestimate what we are trying to do here. We are bringing together a hugely diverse range of actors, which is a big challenge. The people here in this room will change the world in the future and today was just the start.”