The effect of COVID on EU democracies

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Publication Date April 2021
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To better understand how the pandemic has so far affected Europe’s democracies, the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN) has analysed 19 succinct national perspectives. We asked our EPIN partners: what are the effects of different crisis rules or procedures on the democratic character of national governance? This exercise has shown that while in some member states the democratic institutions and electoral processes have proved robust and flexible, outstanding democratic issues across all member states are: an overly powerful executive, limited checks on government, and the sidelining of parliaments. Trust, or the lack of it, in the respective political elites is a particularly divisive issue.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: Covid and democracy | Sophia Russack
  • Belgium: A pandemic between two political crises | Benjamin Bodson
  • Bulgaria: containment measures and elections in the air | Antoinette Primatarova
  • Disastrous pandemic management puts the Czech Republic at a critical democratic juncture | Jan Kovář & Christian Kvorning Lassen
  • Denmark: weakening control with a strong executive | Marlene Wind & Xenia Due
  • How do Estonians hold democratic power? An acute question after the pandemic | Piret Kuusik
  • Finland’s response to the crisis: trust in democratic institutions and science | Johanna Ketola
  • France facing the Covid-19 pandemic: increased political mistrust | Thierry Chopin & Louna Gauvin
  • Germany’s hour of the executive – policymaking during the Covid-19 crisis | Minna Ålander, Anna-Lena Kirch & Dominik Rehbaum
  • The pandemic in Greece: alibi for an emerging democradura | Filippa Chatzistavrou
  • Hungary: continuing illiberal trends during the pandemic | Zsófia Wolford
  • Covid-19 and the erosion of politics in Italy | Eleonora Poli
  • Latvia’s democracy is passing the stress test, so far | Karlis Bukovskis & Aleksandra Palkova
  • More action than discussion in Lithuania’s response to the pandemic | Ramūnas Vilpišauskas
  • The pandemic as catalyst for populist authoritarianism in Poland | Jacek Kucharczyk
  • Romania’s democracy exposed by the pandemic | Bogdan Mureșan & Eliza Vaș
  • Slovakia: distrust, disillusionment and the fragility of democracy | Dominika Hajdu
  • Spain’s pandemic democracy: more polarised but still resilient | Ignacio Molina & Héctor Sánchez Margalef
  • Sweden: bound by law and guided by recommendations | Jakob Lewander & Anna Wetter-Ryde
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