Most European countries and the United States have implemented a wide range of restrictions in order to limit the spread of the virus, from banning travel and closing borders to prohibiting public gatherings and implementing total lockdowns. Some governments have asked for enhanced executive powers under constitutional provisions regarding the national state of emergency, which include measures that limit a variety of rights and freedoms of movement, assembly, some cases of expression, and even elections, some of which have been postponed (such as Spain, Latvia, Romania, Czech Republic). Governments are attempting to respond to the pandemic and reinforce their emergency actions, but civil society groups are becoming increasingly uneasy about the tightening restrictions.

CEPA held a discussion where panelists considered: how are various European countries dealing with the potential negative implications of emergency measures—are there significant differences between Western Europe and CEE; are emergency measures imposed in the time of the coronavirus crisis likely to change the political dynamics and processes in the long-run; what are the implications for how governments understand the extent of executive powers; and how is the ability of civil society organizations to perform their role being affected?

ModeratorCorina Rebegea, Fellow-in-Residence, CEPA

SpeakersKata Bálint, Analyst, Political Capital (Hungary)Sorin Ionita, President, Expert Forum (Romania)

Ruslan Stefanov, Director, Economic Program, Center for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria)

Media Contact: Christina Brown at or (202) 601-4148.

Photo: Under Creative Commons via Pxfuel. 

Corina Rebegea