Building resilient democracies

Challenges and solutions across the globe

Policy Study


Across the globe, democracies are under intense pressure. The warning signs come in different forms, to varying degrees and from across all continents.

Since the start of the 21st century, long-standing democracies have faced unprecedented challenges to the integrity of their ideals, systems, and procedures; more recently established democracies have seen faltering consolidation and backsliding in their institutions. ‘Authoritarian international’ along with self-ascribed ‘illiberal democrats’ have asserted an ever more strident alternative vision for the organisation of societies: one that threatens not only to break down formal checks and balance but also to blur the distinction between elected governments and the branches of the permanent state.

Democratic erosion concerns democracy as an ideal. The dynamic character of democracies implies that they must adapt to new challenges in an ever-changing global world.

Anti-democratic forces pose increasing risks to human progress as a whole. The electoral success of authoritarian movements must serve as a wake-up call. If not stopped, societies across the world will rapidly start to lose the institutional basis through which people can achieve meaningful emancipation.

Progressive democrats need to formulate a new vision to protect and promote democracy, and its associated institutions, in order to safeguard the prospects of a positive future societal development. Central to this must be a coherent strategy to restore democratic resilience in the face of the current authoritarian challenge, both in terms of democracy’s ideological appeal and its practical efficacy.

From 11 May to 6 July 2021, the Progressive Alliance hosted four regional expert exchanges among a number of high-level political stakeholders, focused on Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. These exchanges dealt with crucial questions about how best to foster resilient democracies in the 21st century.

This policy study summarises the essential takeaways from these exchanges. It analyses the main concerns, as expressed in response to the several guiding questions and formulates a number of recommendations that progressive democrats around the world should engage with in order to be better prepared for both current and future global challenges to democratic systems.

Karl Renner Institut
Progressive Alliance
Find all related publications

EU regulation on transparency and targeting of political advertising


Inequality and populism


The transformation of the mainstream right and its impact on (social) democracy


The transformation of the mainstream right in Western Europe

Implications for social democracy
Find all related Progressive Post
Progressive Post

25 April, a very special democratic revolution

A personal memoir

Croatia’s super election year starts with a possible sharp turn to the right


The Democratic Shield: safeguarding democracy in the age of AI

Find all related events
03 - 04/05/2024
La Hulpe, Belgium

Training of Trainers first session

Vienna, Austria and Brussels, Belgium

European Political Academy

Vienna, Austria

The transformation of the European mainstream right and its impact on (social) democracy 

Find all related news

FEPS President on Euronews talk-show ‘Brussels, my love?’

NATO extension, Portuguese elections, far-right and gender equality were the topics of the debate

FEPS at the PES Election Congress in Rome


Spanish Minister Teresa Ribera awarded FEPS ‘Progressive Person of the Year’


Joint priorities for the Defence of Democracy Package

Find all related in the media
In the media

Falsely historic European elections bring little change, says FEPS

by Agence Europe 18/06/2024
Agence Europe's article features an analysis of the EU election results by Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Director for Research and Training, published in The Progressive Post.

Europe Needs a Democracy Commissioner

by Project Syndicate 05/06/2024
FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues co-authored this article, advocating for the establishment of a Democracy Commissioner to protect the sustainability of news media, among other tasks

La ultraderecha se reorganiza para devorar a los populares en Europa

by El País 03/06/2024
EL País article focuses on the changing relationship between the mainstream right and the far-right. It mentions FEPS Policy Study 'The transformation of the mainstream right and its impact on (social) democracy' and includes interviews with some of its authors.

Edição especial sobre as eleições europeias já nas bancas

by SÁBADO 21/05/2024
"Special Edition on the European Elections Now Available on Newsstands" Read the special edition by SÁBADO focusing on the European election in Portugal, with an interview by Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President