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Greek president at Athens Forum: Democracy proved resilient, but also requires renewal

Democracy proved its resilience under the threats of populism and the restrictions of the pandemic, President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said at during her opening address at the Athens Democracy Forum 2021 (ADF) on Wednesday, but also needs to be renewed.

At the ADF, which is under her aegis and this year devoted to “Resilience and Renewal”, the president said, “Our democracy proved resilient despite the crises, but in order to face current and future challenges, it must also be renewed.” She added that democracy looks to the past to evaluate the strength of its institutions, but it must also turn to the future to make its institutions stronger.

Although populism, its greatest threat, “continues to cast doubt on democracy’s central tenets – the state of law, freedom of the press, minority rights, and the independence of justice,” she said, among others, “populist powers cannot mount their attack anymore so freely as in the past: Now we know and we can react.”

Democracy’s renewal, on the other hand – at national and supranational level – is necessary in order to face challenges and crises such as climate change, Afghanistan, and civil liberties. At European level, she said, the Conference on the Future of Europe is a promising opportunity for citizens and particulary young people. “We must always be alert, ready to grasp the opportunities to improve our institutions and to boost our democratic governance,” she underlined.