Our freedoms have been restricted because of COVID-19. True, government measures introduced to curb the coronavirus pandemic were necessary in order to save lives. Lockdowns had to be put in place to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
Nevertheless, fundamental freedoms (such as freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and the freedom to conduct a business) have been curtailed or suspended in a manner unseen outside of wartime. Large numbers of Europeans were told they could not leave their homes, borders were closed, and track and trace systems have been introduced to monitor our movements. By and large, European citizens have accepted all of this has been necessary to protect public health. However, when will we get our freedoms back?
Restrictive measures are being eased across Europe. People are being allowed to move more and more freely, demonstrations are possible again (under certain conditions) and internal European borders are opening again. A ‘new normal’ is emerging for most of us. However, concerns that some governments will abuse the situation is not completely without foundation. For example, the European Commission is monitoring the emergency measures in some EU member states, and the European Parliament has already warned Hungary not to unnecessarily curtail freedom of expression and information.
Can our freedoms survive coronavirus? Which rights and freedoms may be temporarily restricted to protect public health, and which should not? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!