Skip to content
Home » stories and insights » Democratic erosion and rising authoritarianism in Europe

Democratic erosion and rising authoritarianism in Europe

In the face of global democratic retreat since 2009, Europe continues to be dominated by democracy, according to the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-dem) liberal democracy indices. However, the past decade has witnessed democratic backsliding in most European nations, with a few exceptions in the east, notably Armenia.

Armenia’s ascent can largely be attributed to the massive pro-democracy mobilisation witnessed in 2018 during its “Velvet Revolution.” This movement successfully ousted a corrupt government and ushered in a democratically elected administration. Other European countries have faced challenges. Poland has seen compromised judicial independence, Turkey has witnessed civil society oppression and mass mobilisation, while government censorship and media bias favouring ruling parties have been prevalent in Hungary and Serbia.

Slope chart showing European countries change in democracy score. The title reads "Europe's democratic backsliding" and the subtitle "The last 10 years have seen 32 countries backsliding and just 11 countries improving their liberal democracy score"

A recent report by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) highlights the growing challenges to democracy in Europe. Stagnating democratic qualities, erosion of democratic processes, and infringement on fundamental rights have deteriorated some democracies to such an extent that they can hardly be classified as democracies any more.

sharing our work

If you’d like to use our visuals in your reports, news articles, educational materials, etc, contact us for pricing. We can grant non-exclusive rights to reproduce, store, publish, and distribute.