Audrey Tang auf dem Monitor des Laptops

Digital Democracy – What Europe can learn from Taiwan

Taiwan’s first Digital Minister Audrey Tang has made Taiwan—with the help of the tech community and civil society—a world leader in innovative citizen participation. Europe can certainly learn a lot from Taiwan and Audrey Tang. We spoke to her.

Contact Person

Foto Dominik Hierlemann
Dr. Dominik Hierlemann
Senior Advisor

Audrey Tang is a tech guru, hacking prodigy and fervent believer in the contribution of citizens and civil society in tackling political challenges. She started her own company at the age of 15, became a minister in 2016 and has become Taiwan’s public face for a modern and digital democracy.

Taiwan has emerged as a model case in containing COVID19. This is in part due to the participation of citizens and the civic tech community in the development of containment strategies. In fact, digital tools have become a fundamental part of Taiwan’s democracy, continuously strengthening the voice of citizens.  

At the same time the European Union wants to take its own engagement with citizens to a new level. The upcoming “Conference on the Future of Europe” aims to involve civil society organizations and citizens in the discussion on Europe’s key challenges.

We spoke to Audrey Tang: What can Europe learn from Taiwan? How do digital tools, new approaches to participation, and a different political mindset foster democracy?

Answers to these questions are included in the video:

Audrey Tang explains things in a perfect manner, has examples for everything and “does not mince her words”. “We fail all the time and we fail very loudly”. But trust in citizens is at the core of her political approach. Achieving unanimity in society is virtually impossible, “rough consensus among the population” is what she is aiming for. The citizens themselves decide when, how and where they want to participate in politics. But politicians must do everything possible—including the use of digital tools—to make this approach work.

Our discussion was complemented by further digital and participation experts: the Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament, Eva Maydell, Yves Mathieu from Missions Publiques in Paris, Anna Piperal from e-Estonia situated in Tallinn and Prof. Graham Smith von der University of Westminster, London.

We have summarised Taiwan’s strategy, Audrey Tang’s insights and our learnings for Europe in a Briefing Paper. The Paper is available for download.

We hosted the event in cooperation with Open Society Foundations, King Baudouin Foundation und European Movement International.