The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a smokescreen for illiberal leaders to challenge democratic systems in several Member States, Renew Europe warns today. In the past months, we have seen examples of Governments using extraordinary powers to throw civil liberties, democratic freedoms and human rights overboard. When crises such as pandemics hit our societies, it is sometimes justified that governments take measures and operate with exceptional powers for a limited period of time. But it is crucial that these measures are necessary, proportional and only temporary. Otherwise, they risk jeopardizing the independence of the judiciary, press freedom, space for civil society, academic freedom and even democracy itself.
Today, MEPs debated a resolution on measures adopted by Member States to fight the spread of Covid-19 and their impact on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. The resolution treats various elements, such as decision-making in the state of public emergency and freedom of movement, and Renew Europe hopes for strong support on the vote in plenary tomorrow. Our group has emphasized the importance of upholding democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to do so. Read here our 10 Point Action Plan to uphold democracy in times of Covid-19, presented in May 2020.
MEP Sophie In’t Veld, coordinator of the Committee of Civil Liberties, said:
“It is of the utmost importance to not normalise the impact of covid measures on democracy and fundamental rights. Knowing which freedoms have been curbed and keeping track of them is only the beginning. Restoring freedom after the pandemic will take a real effort. Renew Europe will not shy away from doing the work.”
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