Education, both formal and non-formal, has a key role in building the democratic and rule of law culture. The diversity of political cultures in Europe makes the task more difficult. However, there are successful historical examples in which democratic values are taught, spread and consolidated.
In the long term, the best safeguard against democracy and rule of law backslides is an active, educated and involved citizenship.
Liberal democracy as defined in a former EESC opinion and the rule of law should be in the hearts and minds of every European citizen and the EU should lead the way forward towards this goal, for example by encouraging the mainstreaming of these topics in school and higher education curricula, and by promoting academic and professional exchanges between citizens and CSOs active in these areas.
The EESC calls on the European Commission to propose an ambitious communication, education and citizen-awareness strategy on fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy.