Rethinking, Reshaping, and Reviewing EU's Democracy Support: New Project SHAPEDEM-EU Kicks Off Activities
The new EU project SHAPEDEM-EU sets out to rethink, reshape, and review EU's democracy support policies in eastern and southern neighbourhoods. Through the six case studies of Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia, the project will assess, with a focus on gender equality and digital transformation, the democracy support policies of the European Union, investigating the role of EU's member states, key EU's institutions, third country actors, and international organisations. The aim is to develop an entirely novel approach to democracy support – to be conceived as a social and inclusive practice based on shared learning among all stakeholders – and to translate this new approach into improved policy recommendations for the EU's policy toolkit. SHAPEDEM-EU will thus strive to improve the accountability and transparency of the European Union as well as to make neighbouring countries more resilient and equitable.
For this project, the Eurice team joins a multi-national and multifaceted research consortium of 6 universities (from Ukraine, Lebanon, Germany, Denmark, Poland, and the United Kingdom), three think tanks (from Belgium, Italy, and Spain), and two civil society groups (one from Tunisia and one umbrella organisation covering groups from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine).
"Alongside projects such as MIMY, PAVE, and PIONEERED, we are pleased to expand our portfolio in the social sciences and bring our experience to bear on research endeavours aiming at nurturing democracy for an inclusive society," asserts Sandra Türk, Project Manager for social science projects. "By looking at local developments in the eastern and southern neighbourhoods, SHAPEDEM-EU will help re-frame the EU's democracy support as a social practice of interaction and thereby contribute to the empowerment of less heard actors in those regions."
Coordinated by the University of Giessen, SHAPEDEM-EU officially started its activities in Berlin on October 6-7, 2022. It will be funded over the next three years with nearly 2.8 million euros from the European Union's Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.