Date: Thursday, 15 April 2021, 12:30 pm
Location: Online
Moderated by: Zsuzsanna Szelényi, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy
  • Ralf Fücks, Managing Director of the Center for Liberal Modernity
  • Marie Jünemann, Federal Executive Board Spokeswoman at Mehr Demokratie e.V.
  • Michael Meyer-Resende, Executive Director at Democracy Reporting International
  • Linda Ravo, Senior Advocacy Consultant at Civil Liberties Union for Europe


The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered an exceptional legal-political situation that we have not experienced since World War II. In order to manage the crisis, governments were empowered with special remits, which restricted basic rights, such as freedom of information, movement and assembly.

One year later, we want to reflect upon how governments in Europe handled this extraordinary crisis. The pandemic has become a real-life test for democracy. Governments amassed emergency powers that restricted human rights and enhanced state surveillance without parliamentary oversight. They often withdrew critical information from the public sphere and pursued other highly controversial policies. Some governments even used the crisis to deepen corruption, silence critics, and tighten their political grip. The most vulnerable sectors of the population faced alarming new dangers as the lockdowns ravaged the fabric of societies.

The discussion will take stock of the situation in Europe and address the systemic problems that threatened the democratic status quo. The talk will also examine how to restore democratic rights once the crisis is over, what we learned, and how to use the Covid crisis to make positive changes.

Please note that the time refers to CEST.

Registration for this event is closed.