Cyprus Democracy Summit: Anna Diamantopoulou’s Remarks

Cyprus Democracy Summit: Anna Diamantopoulou’s Remarks

How important are reforms for democracy?

This question was addressed by the President of DIKTIO Anna Diamantopoulou during her participation in the Cyprus Democracy Summit that took place on Tuesday, April 23.

The topic of the discussion she had with the professor and intellectual Haridimos Tsoukas was titled: “Without reforms, modern democracies fail to deliver. What is the way forward?”

The President of DIKTIO stated that in Western countries, Democracy is paramount not only because it is the most humane system, but also because it is the most productive! Authoritarianism is responsible for  lack of productivity, innovation, and the flourishing of corruption.

Democracy is a dynamic political system; we must maintain and improve its function and also renew it.

The first involves the separation of powers (legislative, judicial, executive) with the support of strong and improved institutions.

The second, namely renewal and modernization, requires reforms. Reforms may involve a change in the purpose of politics, e.g., privatizations. Changing the structures but maintaining the purpose, e.g., Rule of Law.

Third, horizontal changes, such as Digital Transformation.

She then emphasized that reforms require deep knowledge of both the national and the European – international environment so that the country remains competitive, but also socially fair, and they require political courage to defend the national interest rather than personal or party interests. Major and fundamental reforms are difficult at the beginning and require alliances to be formed through documentation and consultation. They are “chaotic” in the first phase of their implementation because they inconvenience social groups and established interests and prove their importance sometimes immediately and sometimes in the long term for the citizens.

She added that Democracy needs reforms like oxygen, but it is also the political system that allows the coalition of interests, anti-reform parties, temporary populist coalitions, and often in many countries, opposition parties.

In Democracy, reforms to create social consensus need a political function of parties with in-depth knowledge of changes, consultation with social partners, and in modern times cooperation and “utilization” of scientific, political, and social institutions and think tanks.

The direction of reforms is political, but in EU countries, it is mainly European because the osmosis of the major political families has led to a common framework concerning the economy, competitiveness, and the welfare state.

Finally, she noted that in recent years a political discussion has emerged on whether Democracy is an effective system or whether non-liberal (!) Democracy and authoritarian regimes like China produce fast and measurable results. The answer is given through modern political history: Authoritarian regimes had situational results. Progress in all areas requires freedom and justice.