Debating Europe: Is Liberal Democracy at Risk?

26 June 2011, 11 am
Akademietheater, Lisztstraße 1, 1030 Vienna

We live in times of democracy. While in the 1950s only a quarter of all sovereign states lived under democratic regimes, it is now more than 50% of them, and the number is growing. The appeal of democracy is currently demonstrated impressively by the continuing “Arabian spring”. But while residents of Arab states are fighting for freedom and political participation, democracy in Europe is getting more and more into crisis. Given governments that are clueless in the face of global economic crisis, ever poorer polling and sagging trust in democratic institutions, growing populism and xenophobia and the defragmentation of the common public sphere, is it that we have to ask the question, “Is Europe becoming tired of democracy?” The dangers menacing democracy in Europe and what could be adequate reactions to the questioning of democracy will be the topics to be discussed by a panel of international experts.

On the panel:
George Soros, founder of the Open Society Foundations
Emma Bonine, vice president of the Italian Senate
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, green European lawmaker
Ronald Dworkin, professor of legal philosophy in New York and Oxford
Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister; delegate to the European Parliament 

Moderation: Charles Taylor, Canadian philosopher, permanent fellow at the IWM

The debate will be in English.

Tickets for the debate are available at the Burgtheater box office:
Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 2, 1010 Vienna
Phone +43 (0)1 513 15 13

The series Debating Europe is a cooperation of ERSTE Foundation, DER STANDARD, Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM) and Burgtheater. More information is available at