Under Attack: How to rescue Democracy and the Rule of Law in the European Union?


With Katarina Barley, Vice-President of the European Parliament,

23rd April 2020


In these times of crisis, progressive answers are needed more than ever. The coronavirus pandemic puts our health systems and the economy under pressure, leads to unemployment and social inequality, and is used by autocrats to undermine democracy and the rule of law. Nationalism is on the rise, borders are closed, and refugees are let down. Important issues for our future such as measures against climate change are put on hold. The EU is struggling to fight the multiple crises and to develop the right tools. To give progressive answers to these challenges, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is organizing a series of webinars called “Zooming In On Progressive Responses” with social democratic experts and friends of the FES across Europe. We want to discuss new ways out of the crisis and help to find better solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

In our first webinar from Brussels, we will discuss the role of the EU to safeguard democracy and the rule of law in the member states with Katarina Barley MEP, vice-president of the European Parliament. To fight the pandemic, far reaching rules and regulations have been adopted. Many European governments declared a state of emergency and restricted civil liberties in order to limit the spread of the virus. While these measures should be of a temporary nature, limited to what is necessary, and in line with fundamental rights, some governments, such as those of Hungary and Poland, seized the opportunity to further weaken the separation of powers, democracy and the rule of law. Even though the EU has already criticized and warned Hungary and Poland, both governments continue to dismantle democratic principles.

What can the EU do to safeguard democracy and the rule of law in the member states? Which instruments are required to secure and strengthen European values? Will the new rule of law mechanism help to identify violations and put more pressure on autocratic governments? Or are the suspension of voting rights and financial restrictions the only ways to help change their course?

We will discuss these questions in a closed digital meeting with friends and partners of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Invitations are personal.

Contact: Marco.Schwarz@fes-europe.eu

back to top