The Young European Federalists launched the campaign in 2006 by under the name of “Free Belarus Action” to raise awareness against the Lukashenka regime, considered as the last dictatorship in Europe. Since then, JEF Europe has been lifting the voices and the stories of  activists and citizens demanding to live in a democratic country.

Unfortunately, recent times have shown that threats to democracy and the rule of law concern several countries on the European continent. Hence, JEF actions have been rebranded under the name “Democracy under Pressure” in 2014 and aim at drawing attention to the systematic weakening of democratic values on which the European Union is founded.

What do we do?

In the past 17 years, JEFers have been showing how crucial abstract concepts such as democracy and the rule of law are and how important it is to recognise when they are being taken away. The campaign is based on very concrete actions such as gagging statues, organising awareness-raising activities, flash mobs, debates, articles, press releases as well as partnerships with other civil society organisations and local and European authorities. Through these, JEF has strived to make sure the voices of those who are silenced by the ones who want to put democracy under pressure continue to be heard and supported in solidarity. 

Join the 19th edition in 2024!

The 2024 edition of Democracy under Pressure will take place between the 18th and 25th of March and will mark the 18-year anniversary of the campaign and its 19th edition. This year the campaign will focus on the role of activists and journalists in defending democracies. Join our street and online actions in Europe’s cities, amplify the voices of those who have been silenced and raise awareness on social media! 

18th edition in 2023

The 2023 edition of Democracy under Pressure took place between 18-25 March and marked the 17-year anniversary of the campaign and its 18 edition. Since last year, democracy is no longer just under pressure but under attack – as our campaign subtitle highlighted. JEFers across Europe answered the call and stood up for democracy, for Free Belarus, for Ukraine!

JEFers took action all over Europe in 62 different cities in more than 20 countries, raising awareness in the streets through protests, flashmobs and interviews, writing letters to political prisoners in Belarus and Russia, conferences and debates.

How can I get involved?

Upcoming events

Our next action week is on 18-25 March 2024! You can join our events or create your own action, as described below.

  • 18/03 6pm CET: Activism under pressure: stories from Belarus. | REGISTER HERE

Past 2023 events


What can I do?

  • Read our infokit to join our action week!
  • You can organise an event covering topics such as reasons behind democratic values put under pressure, why people vote for parties that want to limit human rights, how the rule of law is under threat in the EU and beyond. The focus can also be on the political situation in specific cases. 
  • Check our solidarity actions with Ukraine and join or create your own.
  • Record a video for our European chain of democracy (details in the infokit).
  • Speak up for democracy on social media! Do not forget to use the #DemocracyUnderPressure! 
  • You can send an hand-written letter to one of the over 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus, detained for peacefully protesting against the Luakshenka’s regime. With this simple gesture of solidarity, you can show your support for their struggle and let them know that we are fighting to let their voices be heard.
    At the moment we sent over 150 hand-written letters to political prisoners. You can find information on how to do the same here.

What to do more?

  • Become a juror of the European Capital of democracy and select the next one! The first Capital of Democracy is Barcelona. Vienna will take over in October 2024.
  • You can consider making a donation to support the victims of political repressions in Belarus. The initiative #BY_help collects money for them to cover the costs of their fines, lawyer fees as well as medical treatment and rehabilitation. You can transfer the money via PayPal or Facebook donations. You can also support dissidents financially via others dedicated platforms, including BySol and A Country to Live In.

👇 Learn more 👇

Check out our country profiles and watch our country talks in the videos below to learn about the threats to democracy and rule of law in several countries.

Not only will you discover the struggles that many young people are facing but you will also learn how to recognise when similar threats are posed also to the democracy in which you live.

Download #DemocracyunderPressure the 15th anniversary booklet

They support us 🤝

Many Members of the European Parliament support #DemocracyUnderPressure. You can find their names here and listen to their words in the videos they sent us 👇

#DemocracyUnderPressure has also many other partners, including civil society organisations, youth parties, student societies, European municipalities and regions!

Contact information

Martin B. Penov, Vice President

Young European Federalists