Strasbourg, 27 november 2013 - “Europeans’ history is hallmarked by an effort to achieve democracy, which has now become a universal aspiration. It is hard and often painful work, and it always takes a long time.” The words are those of Hélène Conway-Mouret, Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad, attached to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaking at the opening of the World Forum for Democracy.
The Minister pointed inter alia to the difficult socioeconomic context, one conducive to increasing inequality, a resurgence of racism and hate speech and public distrust of political systems.
“Like peace, democracy needs to be nurtured day by day. It is achieved when everyone works together. Every single person needs to feel concerned, or democracy will wither away”, she said, welcoming the unique opportunity offered by the Forum to get together and engage in discussion.
Pointing to not only the benefits of the Internet, such as access to a wide variety of information, but also its potential threats to privacy and data protection, Ms Conway-Mouret concluded by emphasising that “Internet freedom is a shared responsibility”, shared between governments, the private sector and civil society.