The European Parliement published a report on the impact of the measures to stop coronavirus, written by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs. It aims to analyse the impact of those measures on Freedom and Democracy.

The dramatic spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe has led Member States to adopt a series of emergency measures in an effort to contain the virus as quickly and effectively as possible. A wide majority of EU governments have resorted to "emergency powers" to radically limit internal and international travels, carry out sanitary controls, close schools and universities, shops and public places, confine persons at home, hereby drastically limiting individual freedom of movement and assembly. Contact tracing, location tracking and data analysis measures having an impact on privacy and data protection standards are being developed and implemented through apps and big data processing. Fines and prison sanctions are introduced, increased and applied against persons for violation of restrictive measures. The right to apply for asylum is suspended all over Europe, detained persons suffer restrictive measures in relation to visits, while vulnerable categories are exposed to risks of discriminations and violence. The justice systems are suspended in many countries, with deadlines postponed. According to critics, some governments have used the emergency situation as an excuse to propose and approve controversial pieces of legislation that jeopardise freedom of expression, or are unrelated with the fight against Covid-19. Aware that these developments represent fundamental challenges to democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU, the EP Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Monitoring Group on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (DRF MG) decided to closely monitor the measures adopted by the EU Member States in the fight against Covid-19.

Read the whole report on the European Parliament website.