Three Cities on shortlist for first European Capital of Democracy

Barcelona, Braga and Brussels in final voting by Citizens’ Jury to become the first European Capital of Democracy 2023/24

Three cities that are frontrunners in democracy have been shortlisted by the Experts’ Jury in the competition for becoming the first European Capital of Democracy (ECoD). The title will be granted to one of these cities in January 2023 by a Citizens’ Jury of up to 10,000 Europeans. 

Following a series of intensive visits to candidate cities, the ECoD Experts’ Jury met at the beginning of December to evaluate the candidate cities’ programmes and pre-select three cities which continue the race for the first European Capital of Democracy. The programmes presented by the cities Barcelona, Braga and Brussels convinced the Experts’ Jury in their multifaceted approach toward democracy, with innovative civil society projects, and the proven ability to collaborate and inspire action across borders.

The cities Barcelona, Braga and Brussels have now been shortlisted and enter the final phase of the selection process. 

Antonella Valmorbida, Chairperson of the Experts’ Jury and Secretary General of ALDA, highlighted: “Our city visits were inspiring: We saw amazing projects at the political, administrative and civil society levels. The efforts all these cities are making to include citizens and to have a long term impact on communities is very clear! We thank all candidates for their commitment and we are very proud to take Barcelona, Braga and Brussels one step further in their journey towards becoming the first European Capital of Democracy.” 

“Reflecting upon the candidate cities’ programmes allowed the Expert Jury to get a better understanding of the multiple democracy projects that are underway in these municipalities. Furthermore, the conversations our team had with city officials, politicians, and representatives of civil society enriched our understanding of the latest democratic developments in the applicant cities. We know that our initiative already has a powerful impact, since the thirteen candidate cities have been very imaginative in coming up with plans for further democracy projects. As this year comes to a close, we are looking forward to the next and final step in the selection process: a Citizens’ Jury will choose from the shortlist the first European Capital of Democracy in January 2023!”, said Helfried Carl, founder and Advisory Board member of the European Capital of Democracy.

Applications are open until 31 December 2022 for citizens from all Council of Europe member states to join the Citizens’ Jury. Click here to register   

A city holding the title European Capital of Democracy will enjoy a wide range of benefits, such as an enhanced international reputation as a centre of education and innovation, the opportunity to host international events and meetings of leading European politicians, and of course a boost to civic pride. International media coverage will focus on democratic best practice. The mayors of all Member Cities will present their most successful Democracy Projects during the European Capital of Democracy Programme Year.

The European Capital of Democracy initiative was launched by ECoD gemeinnützige GmbH together with The Innovation in Politics Institute, based in Vienna and Berlin with partners in 16 European countries.

For more information about the European Capital of Democracy, please visit: 

To register as a Citizen Juror, please visit: