Democracy Alive: The Brussels Summit

Register below to join us on June 6 in Brussels to discuss the state of democracy in Europe and strategize how to best counter the threats faced by the EU.

Democracy Alive: The Brussels Summit

It is a critical time for democracy in Europe and the world as a whole. Seventy-five years ago, the Congress of Europe in The Hague laid the foundation for restoring long-lasting peace and democracy on our continent. Today, we find ourselves facing a new set of challenges that threaten to undermine the progress made so far: the rise of authoritarianism, of far-right leaders and the erosion of common democratic values in many countries, both within the EU and beyond. Furthermore, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to stem its path towards democracy and European integration, accentuates the assault upon liberal democracies we are witnessing across the world.

Democracy Alive: The Brussels Summit is organized by the European Movement International with the aim to gather political leaders, policymakers, academics, social partners, NGOs, and organized civil society to discuss the state of democracy in Europe and strategize how to best counter the threats faced by the EU. It is an opportunity for us to share our thoughts and ideas on how to strengthen democracy and uphold its principles.


10:00 – 10:15

Opening remarks

10:15 – 11:30

Enemy at the gates: building an alliance to defend democracy and freedom  

Our democracies are under assault, confronting various sets of obstacles that endanger progress made so far: the sharp rise of authoritarianism and far-right leaders, the erosion of shared democratic values in various countries, including within and beyond the EU. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, aimed at preventing its democratic and European integration, exacerbates the assault on liberal democracies globally. How can we create a coalition to safeguard democracy and freedom? How can we strengthen democratic institutions and uphold shared values such as the rule of law, human rights, and diversity?


Alin Mituța, Member of European Parliament, Renew

Valeria Ronzitti, Vice-President of EMI and General Secretary of SGI Europe

Elias Dray, Vice-President, European Youth Forum

Evelyne Paradis, Director, ILGA-Europe

11:45 – 13:15

Countering threats: The rise of authoritarianism in Europe and beyond

The rise of far-right parties in the last decade in Europe as well as the sharp turn towards authoritarianism observed in some Member States pose a dangerous threat to liberal democracies. The deterioration of the rule of law, mistrust towards governments and institutions, polarisation and the questioning of the values of the democratic model will be discussed during the panel as well as solutions that can be found to halt these worrying trends. 


H.E. Ambassador Tom Hanney, Irish Permanent Representative to the EU

Daniel Freund MEP, Greens/EFA

Matjaz Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation, Council of Europe

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary-General, Europa Nostra

14:00 – 14:30

Keynote and Q&A with Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova

Defending democracy in a time of insecurity

14:30 – 16:00

The assault on truth: Disinformation and the narrative war 

Disinformation and misinformation have surged in recent years, used to undermine trust in factual information and employed by malicious actors and even governments. The Kremlin has wielded disinformation as a weapon in its war against Ukraine.  The situation has become even more complex with the advent of advanced AI tools, making it easier for malicious actors to manipulate digital videos and images, creating convincing and authentic-looking content that is fake or altered.  

Ahead of the EU elections next year, this panel will focus on the strengthening of citizens’ and society’s resilience to disinformation, making sure that we have appropriate defenses to protect our democracies from external interferences.   


Maria Walsh MEP, EPP

Alexandre Alaphilippe, Executive Director, EU DisinfoLab

Asha Allen, Advocacy Director for Europe, Center for Democracy and Technology

Caroline Greer, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations at TikTok

Julie Majerczak, Head of Brussels Office, Reporters Without Borders

16:15 – 17:45

Looking ahead: what the European Union needs to do to strengthen democracy 

One year ahead of the European Union elections, democratic forces need to advocate for European values. These elections are a key moment to kindle much needed debates on the changes that the EU must achieve to keep up with the challenges of our times, ranging from the war on European soil to the rise of autocracies and illiberal regimes. Civil society and citizens have a crucial role to play in that regard, following on the Conference on the Future of Europe, and the panel will discuss how we can ensure that their voice will be heard and integrated in the EU political debate. 


H.E. Ambassador Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Ambassador, Lithuanian Permanent Representative to the EU

Domenec Ruiz Devesa MEP, Socialists & Democrats

Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen, Director General for Communication, European Commission

Finn Heinrich, Division Director for Democratic Renewal, Open Society Foundation

Laura Maria Cinquini, Citizen, Conference on the Future of Europe

About us

Check First is a leading Finnish software and methodologies company, spearheading adversarial research techniques. We believe that everyone should be able to understand how and why content is presented to them. We advocate for online clarity and accountability, building solutions to attain this goal. Partnering with leading institutions, regulators, NGOs and educators, we aim at curbing the spread of disinformation and foreign influence manipulations.

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