Liberal Democracies in Crisis – LIVE TALK 

in collaboration with the Austrian Economics Center

Thursday 29th October – h. 6pm CET


The collaboration with the Austrian Economics continues on issues of major importance for the future of society.

The majority of citizens in the world today do not trust their political representatives, the mainstream political parties, the established political institutions or their governments. This widespread crisis of legitimacy underlies a series of dramatic changes that have taken place in recent times in the global political landscape. The rise of populist and nationalist parties have been a key focus of concern since, for many of them, there are questions about their political tolerance and their respect for pluralist institutions. Not all populist parties follow the same playbook, however, and some may actually enrich pluralist and liberal democracies. 

Most recently, the pandemic has deeply put under pressure liberal democracies. Faith in progress, which is pivotal in the liberal systems, has been hit by the inability of liberal institutions to deliver more wealth and more peace. Trust in scientific, technical and political competence and institutions have been further negatively affected by the disintermediation provided by the digital revolution, which allowed for forms of decoupling between knowledge and power. Covid-19 has illustrated the clash between the perception of time that different stakeholders pertain. The time of economy clashed markedly with the time of the epidemics.

In light of this, what is the future of liberal democracies? How can pluralism emerge again as the core of the public debate?


The webinar will be attended by guests with great expertise on the subject:

Mario Fantini works as an editor and speechwriter for various international organizations in Brussels, Rome, and Vienna and serves as Editor in Chief of The European Conservative

Daniel Kaddik is Executive Director of European Liberal Forum in Brussels

Sir Graham Watson is a former Member of the European Paliament.



Pietro Paganini is the President and Curiosity Officer at Competere, and Prof. at Fox School of Business, Temple University of Philadelphia.

Liberal Democracies in Crisis - October 29

Speakers’ bio

Mario Fantini

Alvino-Mario Fantini works as an editor and speechwriter for various international organizations in Brussels, Rome, and Vienna. He is also a ‘ghost-writer’ for the free-market PR firm Keybridge Communications in Washington, D.C., and serves as the editor-in-chief of the bi-annual publication,The European Conservative.

He previously worked as Latin America correspondent for Bridge News/Telerate in Bolivia, Chile, and Paraguay; communications officer for the World Bank in Bolivia; editorial consultant at the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong; and editorial page writer at The European Wall Street Journal in Brussels.

He serves on the boards of European Dignity Watch, an NGO in Brussels, and the Center for European Renewal, an educational non-profit in Amsterdam, and is the former Secretary General of the Hayek Institut. He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Philadelphia Society, and the Institut d’Études Politiques.

Daniel Kaddik

Daniel is Executive Director at European Liberal Forum in Brussels. The European Liberal Forum is a think tank founded to strengthen the liberal and democrat movement in Europe.

Before that he was Director of the Southeast Europe office of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, a non-profit organisation that promotes liberal values, rule of law, and economic freedom. Providing policy consultations and educational programs, the Foundation is active in more than 60 countries.

Having worked previously for the Foundation in Germany, India, and Russia, Daniel Kaddik is actively involved promoting entrepreneurship and personal and political responsibility. His main interest lay in the field of liberal policy solutions, economics and social sciences as well as entrepreneurship and citizen participation in governance.

He received degrees in Governmental Studies from the University of Erfurt, European Studies from the University of Hamburg, and International Studies from the University of Birmingham.

Sir Graham Watson

Graham Watson formerly served as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament. During Sir Graham’s tenure as leader, the ALDE group grew to become the the largest third party ever in the European Parliament. He has had a long and distinguished career in European politics and is an expert in European affairs.

Sir Graham was first elected to the European Parliament in 1994 and was the first Liberal Democrat MEP to be elected in the UK. As an MEP, he represented the South West of England for 20 years.

During his political career in the European Parliament he was a member of the Committee for Economic & Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy and also served on the Budgets Committee for five years. Sir Graham also served as chairman of the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. Towards the end of his career in the European Parliament he served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, in addition to his work as a member of the European Parliament’s delegations to China and chair of its delegation to India.

Before entering the European Parliament, Sir Graham worked for the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) in their London and Hong Kong offices. His career with HSBC included a secondment to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Sir Graham was elected president of the European Liberal Democrat party in November 2011. He was knighted in Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours that same year.

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