All of today, Civil Society Day, has been devoted at the European Economic and Social Committee to a conference on democracy in Europe from the perspective of civil society. The conference was jointly opened by EESC President Staffan Nilsson and the Liaison Group co-chair, Jean-Marc Roirant. The fascinating opening session, wittily moderated by European Voice  editor Tim King, heard thought-provoking keynote speeches from Professors Lars Trägard and Stijn Smismans and an open discussion with European Parliament Vice-President Isabelle Durant, the Secretary General of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Katsuji Imata, the President of the Platform of European Social NGOs, Conny Reuter, and EESC Various Interests Group President, Luca Jahier. It is impossible to sum the morning’s work succinctly, but two recurring themes were the relationship between the individual, the state, and civil society (is there an ideal? are all societal models necessarily different as an adaptation to their environment and cultural development?) and the relationship between representative and participatory democracy (are both necessary? can one replace the other? what is the ideal relationship between them?).