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Crisis Situations are a Test for the Quality of Democracies  

CIVEX webinar "Tensions between crisis management and fundamental freedoms", 12 June 2020

Around 70 CIVEX participants, including CIVEX members, CoR staff and political advisers attended the webinar on "Tensions between crisis management and fundamental freedoms", organised on 12 June by the CIVEX Commission.

Moderated by the CIVEX Chair, Mark Speich,  and introduced by a contribution of Sophie Pornschlegel, Senior Policy Analyst of the European Policy Centre, the webinar allowed CIVEX members to exchange views and experiences from their territories, starting with an introduction on different approaches in several member States and brief overview on the freedoms concerned by restrictions (e.g. freedom of movement, right to data protection).

From experiences in France, Italy, Hungary, Poland and Finland it emerged that the overall quality of a democracy is measured in crisis situations, and stressed that fundamental freedoms should not be seen as obstacles to health protection. If measures are proportionate to the scope, limited in time and subject to a transparent scrutiny, then they can be considered as respectful of fundamental freedoms. Moreover, an open, evidence-based and transparent decision- making process allows restriction measures to be understood and accepted by the population. 

Several members also stressed the importance to monitor the respect of the subsidiarity principle and warned against the risk that emergency measures might lead to centralization of powers by national governments – thus limiting the role of the Parliament and of local and regional authorities.

The CIVEX Commission will further work on the subject, developing the inputs emerged in its institutional work on democracy, fundamental rights and subsidiarity.