Rebecca Wagner | 2020

Internal Threats to EU’s External Democracy Support in Times of a Pandemic – Can the New EU Council Conclusions on Democracy still Kick-off?

in: Prif Blog, 16.04.2020.

In the course of the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, governments in Europe and across the world have called for states of emergency and restricted individual freedoms of their citizens in order to #FlattenTheCurve. While many citizens support the governmental initiatives, concerns about their implications on the state of democracy are growing stronger. Some fear that the coronavirus crisis will end in a crisis of democracy. Worldwide, democratic standards have been challenged long before the pandemic started.

First analyses show that the current health crisis speeds this tendency up. In particular, the erosion of civic freedoms for the sake of handling the global health crisis appears to accelerate. While most governmental measures seem to be appropriate, others provide the impression that the coronavirus crisis is used to further erode internal checks and balances. Just recently, the European Union (EU) has adopted new Council Conclusions on Democracy aiming to address this global tendency. While they mainly address the external dimension, internal threats to democracy are not to be neglected. What value has such a strategy in times of a global pandemic?

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