Measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic have limited a number of fundamental rights to an unprecedented extent. The rights of economic activity, movement, assembly and religious worship have been subjected to the most severe restrictions. Here, however, lies the great danger of the gradual consolidation of a constitutional mithridatism.
2020 was a special year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The introduction of the restrictive measures had a negative effect on both human rights and the economy – which is true for both Hungary and the Netherlands.
European Commission published its Rule of Law Report, which reported on the state of justice, corruption, media and other democratic institutions in EU countries. Michal Šimečka of the Renew Europe group called the report important but not sufficient.
The shocking and lawless actions in Washington, D.C., provided many people a wakeup call. They also reminded us all that no nation is uniquely exempt from the temptations of power or from the dangers of mob violence and populism.
Whilst waiting on the political and governmental reforms of the EU, we should be aware of our contemporary situation and stay modest in small steps: only such small steps could keep us on track with optimism of our founding fathers, both of the EU and liberal democracy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has served as an opportunity for many to intensify attacks on national and international norms and standards, including further weakening of checks and balances, broadening of corruption, and undercutting media freedom.
It could be argued that the EU is now paying the price for the incomplete settlement of the rule of law dispute during the July summit, when the multi-billion euro Corona recovery package and the seven-year EU financial framework were agreed.
After the PiS government declared it is going to “repolonize” media, the US and German ambassadors to Poland, respectively Georgette Mosbacher and Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, have met to discuss the freedom of press.
In democratic societies, elections are determined by the vote of the people. The democratic process in the United States elected President Trump in 2016. Four years later, after all legal votes are counted and verified, the same process may require that he peacefully transfer that power to someone else.
It is not very often that the Liberální Institut can praise a politician for something. The happier I am that I can do so today, because an entourage of Czech senators – headed by the President of the Senate, Miloš Vystrči, – went in their official capacity to the Republic of China – the country generally known as Taiwan.