Barcelona: First European Capital of Democracy

The city will be the stage for strengthening democracy through participation at local, European and international level.

Barcelona, the host city of the IOPD Technical Secretary, became this year's first European Capital of Democracy (ECoD). This was decided by a citizens' jury of thousands of Europeans for the city's commitment to democratic innovation and for the leading role of citizens in its public policies, in projects such as the Decidim platform, its participatory budgets or the citizens' assemblies by lottery such as the Fòrum Jove

The ECoD is a European non-profit initiative promoted by The Innovation in Politics Institute, which aims to strengthen democracy in Europe, and is supported by the European Commission. The initiative aims to open a Europe-wide debate on the democratic challenges for the coming decades in Europe through a series of events and activities in Barcelona from September 2023 to October 2024.

From autumn 2023 and for one year, Barcelona will be the stage for strengthening democracy through innovation and participation at local, European and international level. The city will host and co-organise, together with the European Capital of Democracy NPO, an annual programme with major projects and initiatives, such as the exhibition on culture and democracy the Art of Democracy, three weeks of European challenge during Truth, Lies & Democracy, or ACT NOW Mayor's Conference, the European Mayors' Meeting on Climate Policy. 

During the presentation ceremony of the Annual Programme, held on 30 March, the importance of linking the European Capital of Democracy with some of the main projects planned for participation in 2024, such as participatory budgeting or a metropolitan deliberative assembly for climate policy issues, was raised. In addition to the interventions of the municipal authorities, the event counted with the active participation of Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA and President of the ECoD Expert Jury and the promoters of the initiative Helfried Carl and Martina Fürrutter from the Innovation in Politics Institute.

Mayor Ada Colau said: "The City of Barcelona is proud to be the first European Capital of Democracy. In a global context where hate speech and authoritarian projects are on the rise, cities are the place where we can work together with citizens to strengthen democracy. We accept this challenge as an opportunity to further advance democratic innovation, cooperate with other cities and ensure that neighbours play a more active role in public policy".

The European Capital of Democracy programme has the support of the Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan, with which it will work together to consolidate the project's local technical office.