Summary EaP eDemocracy Conference 23 October 2018 “Politics in the Digital Age”

Summary of the EaP eDemocracy Conference “Politics in the Digital Age”

23 October 2018, Danube University Krems, Austria


The Danube University Krems, Department for E-Governance, and the Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, hosted the EU’s Eastern Partnership eDemocracy Conference on ‘Politics in the Digital Age’ under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The conference provided an opportunity for experts from academia, governments and civil society from the EU’s member states and in particular the EU’s Eastern partner countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine – the opportunity to discuss the the topics of participation, inclusion, and transparency in eDemocracy. The conference was coordinated by Noella Edelmann, Department for Governance and Public Administration.

Conference participants were welcomed by Noella Edelmann, Scientific Coordinator of the Conference. The conference was openend by Gerald Steiner, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Globalization, Thomas Buchsbaum, Special Envoy on Eastern Partnership & Representative of the Austrian EU Presidency, Jacopo Leone, OSCE/ODIHR  and Robert Krimmer, TalTech, Tallinn University of Technology.

Political Communication in the Digital Sphere, Digital Transparency for Accountability &

Stakeholder Involvement in the Political Sphere

The keynotes considered the ways digital technology, digital culture transform societies and their governments, and lead to better services, increased transparency and accountability. In his keynote Rasto Kuzel from MEMO98 (Slovakia) consideres the role of mass media in political communication, how it has  changed in recent years and what implications these changes have on democratic institutions. Here he spoke about the issue of media manipulation, populism on platforms, campaigning, fake news and Trumps use of social media. He points out the particular role of social media in political elections, by drawing on his extensive practical experiences gained from the observation of election observation and international organisations. Social media changes political communciation provides access to information and news and is important for the integrity of the election procees, by reporting and providing a platform. It allows candidates to communicate and reach the audience, monitor and report results. And whilst 2.2 billion people who Facebook, user behaviour and expectations varies, for example to according to age . He shows the advantages, points out the lessons learned so far as well as the dangers that have to be kept in mind.

What are the benefits of digital tools? Alexander Trechsel (University of Lucerne) considers how transparency impacts the accountability of elected governments and the public administration serves as a fundamental principle of democratic societies. He draws on the CoE principles of good governance, especially on its principle 4 transparency and accountability.  Citizens are to have access to all government infomration that is not classified as secret,and freedom of information is seen as paramount for transparency and to enable participation. But this has opened a Pandora’s box. Administrations are to be smoother, more efficient, more transparent or simply “better”, and citizens can access more public data than ever before. In his keynote, Alexander considers some of these issues and concerns such as data storage, GDPR which are not just about regulation, but about politics and power.

Involvement and engagement are complex and Elke Löffler, Unviersity of Birmingham, looks at co-production in communities as supporting meaningful public participation in political decision-making. What are the practical implications for the design of legitimate and effective involvement? Who are the different stakeholders, what roles do they have in the processes and how can they be encouraged to participate? She considers co-production a “fetish” term in engage, it is to help efficiently use resources, bring people in to civil society and public services and thus achieve  social inclusion. Co-producing with the conference participants and drawing several example to show that one the one hand there are several objectives to be achieved, but at the same time there are several barriers to co-production. Nonetheless her research reveals that there are several initiatives, that more is happening than is assumed, and, most critically, that a lack of evaluation leads to a misunderstanding as to what can be done and what can be achieved.


Rasto Kuzel, MEMO98 (Slovakia)

Video: Rasto Kuzel’s Keynote

Video: 5 Questions to Rasto Kuzel

Alexander Trechsel’s (University of Lucerne)

Video: Alexander Trechsel’s Keynote

Video: 5 Questions to Alexander Trechsel

Elke Löffler (University of Birmingham)

Vídeo: Elke Löffler’s Keynote

5 Questions to Elke Löffler

Fotos (All photos Copyright Wolfgang Simlinger)

(c) Dieter Zirnig

Further photos (copyright Wolfgang Simlinger) can be accessed here:

Related Reports and Information


If you need further information, please contact

Conference Organizers

  • Department for E-Governance, Danube University Krems
  • Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, TalTech, Tallinn University of Technology

Conference Partners

  • OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
  • Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership (ECEAP)

Conference Committee

  • Jaan Reinhold (Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership, Tallinn)
  • Bernhard Knoll (CEU Democratisation, Budapest)
  • Marcin Walecki (ODIHR Warsaw)

This event is co-organised by:

In partnership with:

eParticipation in the EU – the next level

How should eParticipation work in the future, and what can be learned from the past?

Serge Novaretti from the European Commission (DG CNECT) was reflecting on the future of eParticipation at EurActiv on 18 September 2013 as part of the #ePart4eu meeting, where decision makers, project workers and researchers discussed eParticipation on the European level. According to Novaretti, sustainability is relevant when running those projecst. At this point, the EC is also interested in successful cases that can be used for public adminstration, and the re-usage of existing platforms as well as novel methodological approaches.

Next steps and challenges

Another focus was on eParticipation of young people, with the project OurSpace presented and Greame Robertson talking about the re-development of the European Youth Portal. At the moment there is work on a volunteering platform where young people can find working opportunities in other countries with the Erasmus Plus Programme. Phase 3 of the portal is dedicated to engaging the online engagement of young people, e.g. by increasing young user-generated content, where the aim is to development a coaching system to mobilise more people accross Europe. (more…)

Welcome to OurSpace Austria!

Right before the general election in Austria in September 2013, the Austrian pilot of OurSpace launches to discuss topics relevant for Austrian youth and to vote on proposals to get your ideas across to politicians and decision makers.

What other people say

A topic relevant for net politics is data security. In Austria as in many other European countries, people have been protesting against data prevention and other regulations. It is said that youth nowadays has a different view on data protection and privacy, as they use the internet on a daily basis and in a more transparent way, some even claiming the area of privacy is somewhat outdated. Do you agree?

Listen to Andreas from Austria and what he says about data prevention, privacy and about doing politics online:


Welches Urheberrecht brauchen wir?

Rund um die internationalen Proteste gegen das “Anti-Piraterie-Abkommen” ACTA wurde die Diskussion über die Notwendigkeit eines zeitgemäßen Urheberrechts verstärkt angefacht. Zu diesem Thema fand gestern (3. April 2012) in Wien binnen weniger Tage bereits die zweite Diskussionsveranstaltung statt, diesmal im Bürgerbüro Ehrenhauser.

Zu Gast waren Michael Bauer vom Verein für Internetbenutzer Österreichs (vibe!at), Geschäftsführer des Verband der Österreichischen Musikwirtschaft (ifpi) Franz Medwenitsch, VAP-Präsident (“Verein für Anti-Piraterie der Film- und Videobranche“) Ferdinand Morawetz sowie Markus Stoff von der Initiative für Netzfreiheit – die Moderation übernahm der fraktionsfreie EU-Abgeordnete Martin Ehrenhauser selbst.

Unerwartet einhellig

wirkten die anwesenden Gäste lange Zeit, für ungeübte ZuhörerInnen war die erste Stunde durchaus als Überblicksveranstaltung geeignet. Zur Sprache kamen gleich zu Beginn grundsätzliche Fragen wie der Unterschied zwischen Urheberrechten und Verwertungsrechten, deren Konnex zu Nutzungsrechten sowie exemplarische Vergleiche der international völlig unterschiedlich angelegten Urhebervertragsrechte (beispielsweise in den USA zu Europa). Dabei waren sowohl die unterschiedliche zeitliche Dauer von Urheberrechten Thema, wie auch die Tatsache, dass beispielsweise in den USA Werke, die mittels staatlicher Förderungen entstehen, auch der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung gestellt werden müssen.

Auf die Frage nach seinen Ansichten zur Durchsetzung von Urheberrechten antwortete Franz Medwenitsch diplomatisch:


ePartizipation für Europas junge Generation

Neu: Online-Fragebogen

Um die Beteiligungs-Plattform OurSpace zu entwicklen, benötigen wir Feedback von UserInnen, da unsere Plattform den Wünschen junger BürgerInnen entsprechen soll. Die Daten werden anonym ausgewertet, und die Ergebnisse werden in diesem Blog veröffentlicht. Diese Umfrage wird auch in Griechenland, Tschechien und dem Vereinigten Königreich durchgeführt. Bei Fragen, stehen wir Ihnen gerne zur Verfügung: <michael.sachs{at}>
Weitere Informationen über das Projekt OurSpace entnehmen Sie bitte diesem Blog-Eintrag.

Über OurSpace

Mehr als zwei Drittel der 18 bis 24 jährigen Wahlberechtigten haben bei der Wahl zum Europaparlament 2009 nicht ihre Stimme abgegeben. Um der Politik- und Parteienverdrossenheit der jungen Generation entgegenzuwirken, hat es sich hat die Europäische Union zum Ziel gesetzt, junge Menschen verstärkt in den politischen Entscheidungsprozess zu integrieren.

OurSpace – The Virtual Youth Space ist ein europäisches Projekt mit dem Ziel, jungen Menschen eine Diskussionsplattform für ihre Anliegen zu geben und sie in Kontakt mit EntscheidungsträgerInnen und öffentlichen RepräsentantInnen zu bringen. Durch die Vernetzung von Jugendlichen aus Österreich, Griechenland, Tschechien und dem Vereinigten Königreich soll die internationale Plattform OurSpace jungen Erwachsenen die Möglichkeit bieten, sich mit Peers aus anderen Ländern zu vernetzen und auszutauschen um europäische Lösungen für europäische und vermeintlich nationale Probleme zu erarbeiten.

Ziel des Projekts ist es, eine Massenbeteiligung von jungen Menschen zu erzielen, da die Anliegen der jungen Generation von PolitikerInnen ernst genommen werden müssen. Jede Unterstützungserklärung, jedes Kommentar und alle erarbeiteten Ideen zur Verbesserung der Lebenswelten von jungen Menschen zählen, wenn es darum geht, sich im politischen Alltag der Europäischen Union eine Stimme zu verschaffen, die nicht ignoriert werden kann und darf.