Today, Members of the European Parliament voted on "The impact of Covid-19 measures on democracy, fundamental rights and rule of law" on measures undertaken by European governments during the pandemic.
Sergey Lagodinsky MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the file in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee, comments:"The Covid crisis must not be used as an excuse by governments to encroach on peoples' rights and the rule of law. The true test of a democracy is how well it fares in a crisis and this year has shown that some EU governments are all too quick to undermine the rule of law and European values. In our monitoring group in the LIBE Committee we have seen how freedom of opinion and freedom of the press came under the threat in Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic, often under the pretext of limiting the spread of the virus. How in Poland, an obligatory surveillance application restricted citizens' rights and how almost all EU countries have made it much harder for people to access the right to asylum.
"The crisis has shown the situation in Hungary to be particularly precarious. Viktor Orbán used the pretext of the virus to remove the recognition of transgender and intersex persons from identity documents. Now, in the middle of the second wave of COVID instead of fighting the virus, the main priority for the Hungarian government is to alter the constitution in order to attack LGBTI people. We know these tricks, from the authoritarian toolbox of the Kremlin. With this resolution we are making it clear that while times of crisis require crisis instruments, these are not 'anything goes' for wannabe autocrats."