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Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2023

[You can watch all sessions on their YouTube channel!.

Summary report.

This was the sixth annual Summit held by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation in Copenhagen, discussing mainly the war in Ukraine, and the worldwide struggle of democracy against autocracy. It was noted that according to Freedom House democracy in the world has gone backwards for the last seventeen years!

Proceedings were opened by the President of the Foundation, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who declared that the democracies must do everything possible to ensure that Ukraine wins the war against Russian aggression. He discussed his suggested Kiev Security Guarantee, with the democracies arming Kiev to win the struggle until they can join NATO, in which case they would be covered under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty

There followed an impressive list of speakers. Volodomyr Zelensky of Ukraine and Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan both appeared by video link, appealing for continued support from the democracies against the threats from the autocracies, Russia and China respectively. Nancy Pelosi also appeared by video, but Liz Truss was present in person, arguing fiercely that the democracies must unite against autocracy, and send Ukraine all their latest missiles, tanks, etc.

There were also contributions from various exiled fighters for democracy from various autocracies around the world: Belarus, Russia itself, Venezuela, Myanmar, and Uganda. The most impressive was a session with Leopoldo Lopez from Venezuela and Masih Alinejad from Iran. Leopoldo somehow survived four years in solitary confinement in Venezuela, and has now organized a global network for freedom fighters called the World Liberty Congress. Masih gave an impassioned speech about the persecution of women and girls in present-day Iran, which was the highlight of the meeting. She has had to move frequently and stay in hiding to avoid assassination attempts by operatives from her home country.

Another focus of the meeting was technology, and the race between democracies and autocracies to develop new algorithms in AI (artificial intelligence) and other fields. There was a very impressive video speech from Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. Here it seems the democracies are well in the lead, thanks to several entrepreneurial outfits on the West coast of the US.

A universal theme was the need for solidarity, for the democracies to unite against autocracy. There was talk of an economic alliance of democracies, with an economic article 5 to combat illegal trade sanctions against member states. There was also talk of a tech alliance of democracies to combat disinformation from the autocracies. But there was no discussion of possible new transnational institutions to cement this unity, such as our World Security Community. The closest we got was an amusing video discussion between Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Jens Stoltenberg. Both have been formerly Prime Ministers, of Denmark and Norway respectively, and both have served as Secretary-General of NATO, one former and the other current. Rasmussen tried to get Stoltenberg to make commitments firstly, that NATO should offer Ukraine a security guarantee until such time as it was able to join NATO as a member; and secondly, that NATO should expand to include its partner allies in the Indo-Pacific such as Australia, South Korea and New Zealand. Stoltenberg was obliged to stonewall against any such commitments without the agreement of his NATO member states, although he is probably personally in favour of both ideas!

Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2024

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit is an annual event dedicated to strengthening the resolve of the world’s democracies by providing a high-level strategic forum focused exclusively on the cause of democracy.  This year’s event will take place on May 14-15th, 2024 at the Royal Danish Playhouse. For the agenda, see here. The proceedings can be viewed in real time on Youtube, see here.




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