Publications on Democracy

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Actually European!? 2024

Executive summary
The 2024 European elections will take place from June 6 to 9 in the shadow of multiple crises. Populist and radical right-wing forces could benefit from this. Projections predict a shift to the right in the next European Parliament. These forces seek to renationalize European politics and weaken the EU‘s ability to act together. Specifically, the European Green Deal and support for Ukraine could be curbed. The EU would be weakened at a time when it has to solve major challenges for the future. In this context, the sixth edition of the long-term study Actually European!? examines how the German population views the European elections and what they expect from their government at the EU level.
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Women CSO leaders for systemic change

Study
This study aims to take stock of the progress of the last decade, as well as identify remaining barriers and new opportunities for women CSO leaders in achieving systemic change in Europe. The key findings indicate a concerning trend of burnout among women leaders in the CSO sector, hindering their efforts to drive systemic change.

The 'Eurosceptic Internationale' at the Gates of Brussels?

Study
Political Capital Institute’s latest study, in cooperation with the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Prague, aimed to give a snapshot of the state of populist radical parties and their cooperation and the Hungarian government’s role in it, before the campaign starts for the 2024 European Parliament elections.

Enlargement uncertainty: Reframing EU-Western Balkans relations

Position paper
The core of the EU’s relationship with the WB lies in the promise of full accession with equal rights and responsibilities. As the EU enters a period of reflection and potential reform, it must reintroduce clarity, determination, and honesty into its interaction with WB6.
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The Radicality of Sunlight

Report
The EU is going through a critical moment in its history, expected to deliver on many fronts at once, from long-term transitions to crisis after crisis that has threatened to seriously upset its stability. It would be wrong, however, to assume that the EU can afford to ignore its deepest perennial challenge, namely its own democratic credentials. To offer ideas for the debates that will necessarily unfold, especially as we move towards the 2024 European Parliament elections, SWP and CEPS set up a High-Level Group on bolstering EU democracy.
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Actually European!? 2023

Executive summary
In its coalition agreement, Germany’s current government committed itself to an “active EU policy” and promised to shape Europe in a "constructive" way. The past year however was dominated by crisis management in the wake of Russia's war of aggression. The EU, in its support of Ukraine or in the area of energy policy, proved to be capable of fast and common action, though its room for manoeuvre was often limited to the crises. Its defence capabilities and decarbonization of the economy still present enormous challenges. Against this political backdrop, the fifth edition of the long-term study Actually European!? analyzes how German citizens assess their country’s role in the EU and what they expect from their government.
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Annual Report 2021

Annual report
As we write this in March of 2022, our review of the year 2021 is overshadowed by Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. Because of this, not only foreign policy, but also domestic politics have now entered a new era.
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Actually European!? 2022

Executive summary
This year's representative survey shows that citizens expect Germany to play a more active role in the EU in this "Zeitenwende". In addition, the study identifies three trends under the impression of the current threats and challenges for Europe.
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Perspectives Southeastern Europe #10: Green transition and social (in)justice

Magazine
The analytical commentaries of this issue discuss the prospects for a just green transition in the Western Balkan countries and their particular contexts of structural injustices in the societies and transition legacies. The fundamental economic and technological changes for a decarbonisation of the widely coal dependent economies in the region need to be accompanied not only by another attitude to nature and biodiversity but also by a new set of social relationships and innovations in governance and civic participation.

Reawakening student activism: a case study of Malaysia and Singapore

E-paper
Malaysia and Singapore share a history of suppression of youth activism by the state, and as a result, this has led to the depoliticisation of young people, who are often labelled as apathetic. However, the changing realities of both countries, ­such as the instability of the economy, has led young people to engage more in political discussions in recent years. However, the rise of youth activism also entails rising harassment and state suppression of youth activists through surveillance, arrests and threats to future employability. 
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Intersectionality and refugee women

E-paper
This study critically examines some of the gendered and racialized notions about migrants embedded in and institutionalized through the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, by engaging with the definitory and conceptual unclarities as to who the Pact defines as “especially vulnerable groups” and according to which criteria, making a relevant contribution to ongoing debates with regard to the EU’s future migration and border politics.
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Spreading propaganda and disinformation using public funds

E-paper
This e-paper examines systemic failures in curbing the funding of hateful content as well as disinformation and misinformation with the public money of Slovenian taxpayers. At the same time, it describes the very effective yet opaque methods of circumventing the co-regulative measures proposed by the EU Digital Services Act, which tries to curb such practices.
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Reception, detention and restriction of movement at EU external borders

E-paper
This paper critically maps the current EU legal framework for deprivation of liberty and restriction on freedom of movement of migrants and asylum seekers, as well as resulting practice, to finally to discuss the 2020 legislative proposals for EU asylum reform. The discussion of the law and practice is put in the context of the international and EU human rights law framework governing deprivation of liberty and restriction on freedom of movement.
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The state of content moderation for the LGBTIQA+ community and the role of the EU Digital Services Act

E-paper
Platforms can empower groups that have previously been silenced. However, platforms also host hateful and illegal content, often targeted at minorities, and content is prone to being unfairly censored by algorithmically biased moderation systems. This report analyzes the current environment of content moderation, particularly bringing to light negative effects for the LGBTIQA+ community, and provides policy recommendations for the forthcoming negotiations on the EU Digital Services Act.
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Algorithmic misogynoir in content moderation practice

E-paper
Existing content moderation practices, both algorithmically-driven and people-determined, are rooted in white colonialist culture. Black women’s opinions, experiences, and expertise are suppressed and their online communication streams are removed abruptly, silently, and quickly. This paper explores algorithmic misogynoir in content moderation and makes the case for the regular examination of the impact of content moderation tactics on Black women and other minoritized communities.
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Actually European!? 2021

Executive summary
As the general elections in Germany draw nearer, Angela Merkel’s time as Chancellor, and thus an era of German EU policy-making, is coming to an end. A new German government will step onto the EU policy stage – mere months after a united response to the Covid-19 crisis was found in the shape of the EU Recovery Fund, but also after criticism was levied at the EU for its vaccine procurement strategy. This year’s “Actually European!?” study examines the expectations that citizens have of the next German government’s EU policy. Moreover, the long-term study, now in its third year, surveys what Germans perceive to be the country’s role within the EU.
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Green Ideas for the Future of Europe - Publication

Interviews
Through 20 conversations with Green decision makers and civil society actors, held prior to Germany's EU Council Presidency, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung has striven to contribute to a profound debate about the consequences of the pandemic and the future of the European project.
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Climate Justice and Migration

Study
With climate change looming, anxiety over immigration from the Global South is increasingly fuelled by apocalyptic fears of ecological breakdown. How should policymakers respond to the reality and future prospect of vast populations being displaced and relocated in an era of global heating?
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"Get Lost!": European Return Policies in Practice

Study
Current EU migration policies' increased focus on returns raises concerns on the adequacy of such measures with EU standards and fundamental rights. This publication highlights the problems and difficulties returnees face in Afghanistan, Syria, Tunisia, Senegal and Kosovo.
Closed ports, dubious partners

Closed Ports, Dubious Partners

E-Paper
This study shows that port closures are governed not only by the law of the sea and human rights law, but also by WHO law and that non-refoulement obligations continue to apply even in emergency situations while a derogation is not permissible under international law.

La paz avanza con las mujeres

GPAZ es un grupo de organizaciones que ha velado porque se incluya y se dé cumplimiento al enfoque de género en el Acuerdo de Paz. Han estado presentes desde el aporte de elementos para las negociaciones en la Habana hasta hacer seguimiento y recomendaciones para su implementación. Este es el resumen de la segunda entrega de su informe de seguimiento que cubre el periodo entre agosto de 2018 y agosto de 2019. 
To be Equal and Free: The Nexus Between Human Rights and Democracy

To be Equal and Free: The Nexus Between Human Rights and Democracy

Human rights and democracy are regarded as an interconnected and mutually reinforcing couple. The link between the concepts of democracy and human rights is stemming from the fact that human rights are one of the basic tenants of democracy. This paper seeks to explore the role of human rights in democracy, and specifically whether human rights is a necessary ingredient for its sustenance.
Privacy in the EU and US: Consumer experiences across three global platforms

Privacy in the EU and US

Study
This research examines how aspects of privacy and data protection are working for consumers in two major economic areas – the EU and the US. Both have high levels of digital use, and major online providers offer very similar services in both regions. However, their legal approach to data protection and privacy are very different: while the EU has a general data protection law, the US to-date has not enacted such an all-encompassing law at the federal level.dig
Civil Society Innovation and Populism in a Digital Era

Innovation Report: Civil Society Innovation and Populism in a Digital Era

Publication
Across 14 case studies from international and national civil society organisations, networks and movements from populist contexts around the world, the report highlights their innovativeness, effectiveness in countering different elements of populism, and responsiveness to the potential of digital media in the specific context.

Free, fair, and alive: the insurgent power of the commons

Book
Ambitious, sophisticated, and resolutely grounded in everyday realities, "Free, Fair and Alive" present a compelling vision of a future that can actually work. Written by two highly experienced commons activists, this book is at once a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook for building a new world of commoning.

Governing Ecologically

Study
In voter surveys, the German Greens regularly come out as the party deemed to have by far the greatest competency in this area and in energy policy as well. This study by Arne Jungjohann tries to answer if this image is justified, as it looks at the subnational level of the federal states.

Stabilization via change? The European Union’s support for human rights advocacy in Lebanon

Paper
Civil society is identified as a key partner for the European Union (EU) and receiver of financial support in the European Neighbourhood Policy, as civil society is closest to the citizen’s needs, for example in terms of human rights. However, the existing body of research questions whether such aspirations for human rights are compatible with the EU’s main priority in neighbourhood, stabilization. 

A Local Turn for European Refugee Politics

E-Paper
In this policy paper “A Local Turn for European Refugee Politics” the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung puts forward proposals for a more active role of the municipalities in refugee and asylum policy.

What Is at Stake in the 2019 European Election?

Event report
The upcoming European election in 2019 might bring about an unprecedented political earthquake, already foreshadowed four years ago, blowing away the political centre altogether. What is likely to happen in the end: the feared come-back of nationalism or is there hope for a pro-European revival?

Upping the Ante on Bulk Surveillance

Study
The precarious balance between the need for security and the right to privacy will continue to characterize “risk societies” of the 21st century. This compendium by Thorsten Wetzling and Kilian Vieth provides robust oversight practices and good laws that can serve as bulwarks against the erosion of fundamental rights in Europe and America.

Feminicide: A Global Phenomenon

The fifth edition of “Feminicide: A Global Phenomenon” covers topics such as feminicide in different countries, the recent call of the UN-Rapporteur and the absolute criminalization of abortion.

Feminicide: A Global Phenomenon - From Santiago to Brussels

Feminicide/femicide is the most extreme form of violence against women. It is not a matter of “…isolated incidents that arise suddenly and unexpectedly, but rather the ultimate act of violence which is experienced in a continuum of violence" against women.

Feminicide: A Global Phenomenon

The purpose of this publication, the third in the series “Feminicide: A Global Phenomenon”, is to identify the content to be included in this new space for bi-regional dialogue on gender issues with regard to violence against women and the importance of the participation of defenders of women’s rights in this area.

2014: A Challenging Year for the European Union

Event report
Is there still time to convince enough citizens, especially the young, to give their support to the European project, however bruised and battered it may look at the moment? What are the main challenges to be mastered if, at the end of the year, the European Union and its supporters will be able to look back with contentment, pride and relief and forward with confidence?

Gender Politics Makes a Difference

Politics can only succeed when it is inclusive of all genders. Gender justice is an ambitious goal, one that the Heinrich Böll Foundation is pursuing together with many different allies worldwide. This publication gives an overview of their work.