Reflections on EDC: Citizenship and Participation

“I see citizenship as a counterweight to what led to the present crisis, i.e. profit-led values in particular” declared Ms Snezana Markovic during a recent meeting with Rüdiger Noll (CSC Director), Elizabeta Kitanovic and Richard Fischer (Executive Secretaries). Ms Markovic is Director General of Democracy (DGII) at the Council of Europe (CoE). Since the not quite completed reform of the CoE, DGII is one of the two main directorates of the CoE. An important part deals with Democratic Citizenship and Participation. For Ms Markovic, participation is both a core value and an aim, and Education for Democratic Citizenship a crucial part of it, all the more in the context of decreasing participation in elections and growing atmosphere and expression of xenophobia and extremism. Participation is also seen by the churches in Europe as a fundamental value and their common responsibility, according to the joined Charta Ecumenica – Guidelines for the Growing Cooperation among the Churches in Europe: “On the basis of our common faith, we work towards a humane, socially conscious Europe, in which human rights and the basic values of peace, justice, freedom, tolerance, participation and solidarity prevail” (III,7). Ms Markovic believed churches can do a lot to prevent and overcome violence and engage with youth and for more social cohesion. She thought CSC is doing right in encouraging churches to extend their identity to enter into dialogue with others.

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