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We’ve made it official – Nets4Dem is now seeking new members! 

At the conference “Elections on Rewind: Democracy on Fast Forward,” organised by the European Partnership for Democracy, we initiated our membership drive to expand our community. 

“We are creating an infrastructure to scale up the work that is going on in the innovation and democracy space,” said Paul Zoubkov, Manager for Europe at Democracy Reporting International, a founding organisation of Nets4Dem. Zoubkov, who introduced Nets4Dem at the session titled “Citizen Participation Beyond Elections,” encouraged all attending organisations to join and help shape the network. 

Our goal is to develop into an agile and purpose-driven network of networks for democracy. We aim to connect existing networks and organisations that work in complementary ways to advance democratic innovation and participation in Europe and its neighbouring regions. 

Read more about joining Nets4Dem and express your interest  

Join Nets4Dem

The announcement was followed by a panel session featuring Nets4Dem founding organisations and EU policymakers. 

Anthony Zacharzewski, President of the Democratic Society, emphasised the importance of linking discussions on democratic innovation with those on democratic defence. Reflecting on his experience in the UK Civil Service, Zacharzewski mentioned that innovation within the British administration was often driven by “positive deviants” – individuals who introduced or pushed for changes, even when leaders were hesitant. 

Nets4Dem aims to identify these “positive deviants” within the policymaker community and shift the existing culture towards one that supports democratic participation and innovation, said Zacharzewski. 

Christina Altides from the Directorate General for Communication at the European Parliament shared insights on the EU’s Conference on the Future of Europe, held from April 2021 to May 2022. Altides noted that this initiative aimed to increase citizens’ trust in institutions and politicians. For many participants, it was their first direct interaction with civil society, politicians, and policymakers. 

Ingrid Godkin, from the Cabinet of the Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, highlighted the campaign, which partnered with civil society to organise numerous events across Europe. The campaign successfully mobilised many citizens, especially young people, said Godkin. 

The session was moderated by Sahib Singh, Senior Expert from Demos Helsinki