4liberty.eu N E W S L E T T E R [COVID-19]

Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts "Trompe-l’oeil: Letter Rack with an Hourglass, a Razor and Scissors" // Public domain

A special issue of the 4liberty.eu Newsletter provides an overview of the articles devoted to the topic of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemics, providing a wide range of perspectives to help make sense of the situation.

Toni Skoric (FNF):
The increasingly autocratic tendencies observed in Poland and Hungary during the Corona crisis have alarmed the European Union. With street protests currently banned, human rights activists fear that the pandemic will be used by national conservative governments in both countries to consolidate their power and undermine democracy and human rights.

Reviewing Responses of Various Governments to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious challenge for societies around the world. In response to it not only individuals are changing their behavior, but also governments are taking various policy actions. In order to compare responses in different countries we have gathered information from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuanian, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the UK.

Blazej Lenkowski (Liberte!):
If the ongoing lockdown – unprecedented on this scale in the modern history – is to continue for another three months or longer, we will bear witness to an economic and humanitarian catastrophe. What might follow is a massive and unpredictable social rebellion.
Maria Slominska-Fabis (Projekt: Polska):
Amid the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland shows no intention of postponing the presidential elections scheduled for May 10. The outcome is likely to be deemed illegitimate. Will this be the last straw for Polish democracy?
Jakub Skala (Liberalni Institute):
Testing seems to be vital in fighting COVID-19, as seen in South Korea or Taiwan. Here, we do not really test. The government practically gave up on actively containing the virus. They hope the quarantine will do, which is simply unrealistic.
Justus Lenz (Liberales Institute):
Although even medical experts struggle to understand the precise nature of the new coronavirus, it appears clear that it has the ability to spread fast, creating an exponential growth rate.
Sabine Leutheusser-Schinarrenberger (FNF):
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has extended his power in Hungary with a new law. Despite the spread of the new coronavirus, this shouldn’t have happened.
Thomas Clausen (Liberales Institute):
On the face of it, COVID-19 has changed everything. Suddenly, homeschooling seems to be the new norm and many parents have to tackle a tremendous challenge for which they have hardly been prepared.
Mate Hajba (Free Market Foundation):
Do you know how to do it? You know, a corpulent guy, that politician or whomever, demonstrated it on TV. Just turn the tap on. No, don’t worry, they promised us they are reducing the water price. They even took over that company that billed us. Now it’s in the national hands, or maybe it’s ours, I didn’t quite get it, but they promised it is good for u
Justus Lenz (Liberales Institute):
Gangelt is a small city with 12,500 inhabitants in the Heinsberg County, in the west of Germany. To be frank, neither Gangelt nor Heinsberg were the most widely known parts of Germany until the beginning of 2020. The coronavirus changed that, because Heinsberg, and in particular Gangelt, became one of the first COVID-19 hotspots in Germany.

Monika Rosa (Projekt: Polska):

Polish Government Exploits Pandemic to Pass Barbaric Laws

The human rights of women and children in Poland are at risk. The government is exploiting the fact that due to social distancing restrictions women are unable to protest against a barbaric legislation which was passed in its first reading in the Polish parliament (Sejm) and will now be looked at by the Commission of Health as well as the Commission of Social and Family Affairs.
Adrian Nikolov (IME):
Crises, particularly so severe as the one we are currently facing, have the inevitable habit of redefining the way our economic life works. The way people work, as well as the very labor market itself, will undergo significant changes.
Detmar Doering (FNF):
The restructuring of the state in a latently authoritarian direction is being pushed even further. The government’s worrying trend is particularly evident in the way it is trying to instrumentalize the COVID-19 crisis for the upcoming presidential elections on May 10.
Richard Durana (INESS):
The ongoing epidemic requires an adequate response. In terms of the upcoming weeks, Slovakia should proceed in an organized and responsible manner.
Juraj Karpis (INESS):
Let us close our eyes and put citizens under house arrest for a few weeks. Then we open the eyes again and the virus is gone? This is not how it works. Yes, I have seen Chinese figures and I do not believe them either – gigantic continental China is supposed to have a similar number of new positive cases as the tiny Chinese Hong Kong?
Pavel Fischer (FNF):
The way in which China markets the sale of protective equipment would have made even the Kremlin’s advisers, who worked in Czechoslovakia after the Second World War to pave the way for the Communists to seize power, green with envy. In 2020, this will be known in Prague as Chinese “face mask diplomacy”.
Leo Klinkers (FAEF):
The politicians who are now fighting each other in the discussion about the solution of the failure of COVID-19 can and will only make matters worse. They will continue to think and act on the basis of the intergovernmental system and will once again try to close the holes that have been drawn by systemic errors with arrays of new systemic errors.