The publication Give citizen a chance is the result of the fifth Central European Forum, which was held from 15 to 17 November 2013 at Pisztory Palace in Bratislava. This conference was organized by the Bratislava non-profit Project Forum together with the Prague-based Václav Havel Library as part of events marking the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution. 2013′s programme was focussed on the contemporary state of democracy in Central Europe.
Democracy in crisis – While pluralism has become widely accepted in Central Europe in the last decades, democratic institutions have suffered a rapid decline and a significant loss of credibility. Following Karel Schwarzenberg’s observation in 2013 that “This will never be the West”, Central Europeans found themselves wondering whether we they were witnessing the emergence of a specific Central European variety of representative democracy? If so, they wondered, what are its characteristics? Is there something fundamental that prevents Central European citizens from creating successful democratic institutions? And what role has the crisis of the concept of the “citizen” had to play in it all?