The President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou inaugurated the "Athens Democracy Forum 2022" at Zappeion Hall on Wednesday evening, noting that democracy is what binds Europe and the developed world together, and serves as a form of reference, but must be protected and reinvent itself.
In her address, Sakellaropoulou said that democracy requires passion and feelings, which act as motivational forces. "Democracy remains our unsurpassed political and social horizon, a frame of reference and a shaper of our conscience and of our relationship with others," she underlined.
But "as a self-evident and universal manner of our existence that joins together private and public, social and political, democracy is called upon to reinvent itself - to reconnect with its founding drive," she said.
The president also referred to Cold War-like divisions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a direct challenge to democracy and European values, and the current critical times, including widening inequalities, the pandemic, climate change, energy price hikes, and the migration issue, "which brought us before our humanitarian obligations and the need to set a joint European policy of solidarity and responsibility."
The Forum will run to Friday and has been organized by the Democracy & Culture Foundation in collaboration with The New York Times, presenting both a physical and an online event. Wednesday's speakers included former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are among those speaking in person or remotely at the event.