About This Project
BUDET – Building Democratic Europe Together
10.2016 – 03.2018
Following their transition from totalitarian and authoritarian regimes to democratic systems in the 70s and 80s, and consequential admission into the EU, Southern and Central European countries are now experiencing a concerning phenomenon. Instead of a shift towards a more democratic and tolerant outlook, illiberal, popular and often extreme political tendencies are gaining ground. The moral transgressions of past totalitarian regimes appear forgotten and the public indifferent towards political and civic engagement.
The project examines civic participation and democratic ownership in 6 European countries (Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia) during the last decade of their totalitarian regime. BUDET examines specific issues that affected each country and, through video interviews, engages with former activists involved in:
- The fight for free speech – Samizdat in Hungary.
- Trade unions – Solidarity in Poland.
- Democratic movements aided by the Catholic and Lutheran Church – in Slovakia and Germany.
- Strikes and mass demonstrations at universities – in Greece and Portugal.
BUDET aims to strengthen national and transnational civic dialogue. On one hand, the project deals with the past and the fight for democracy under totalitarian regimes, on the other, it considers our present and our future – more specifically, the modern threats that endanger democratic achievements, civic rights and counterbalances.
As our title, ‘Building Democratic Europe Together’ expresses, we provide a forum for young citizens with no living memories of such times with the intention of helping them to:
- Become more aware of dictatorship experiences when meeting former activists.
- Make a forward step from passive remembrance to active preservation of democratic achievements, with the help of people who experienced totalitarian regimes first-hand, and who were involved in social movements against totalitarianism and authoritarianism.
- Use modern and innovative methods to raise awareness of the past and to promote democracy and freedom of speech.
This project has been co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.