European Civic Forum: Civic Space Report 2020: Stories From The Lockdown


A new report from the European Civic Forum looks at the how civil society has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the pandemic has affected the work of civil society organisations. The report includes a general analysis of the situation in the EU, seven interviews and six case studies looking at the situation for LGBTI people and the situation in the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Slovenia.

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"2020 has been characterised by the COVID-19 health emergency that produced consequences on our societies, economies and democracies that are unprecedented in Europe in times of peace. We have changed our life to protect ourselves and others. We have all been expected to act responsibly as individuals and as a community.

On the one hand, the need to provide a quick and strong response in a short time has increased the use of exceptional powers by the Governments at the expenses of democratic checks and balances.  Some Governments took advantage of this exceptional situation to legitimate their attempt to concentrate powers in their hands but, even in countries where governments have been praised for their balanced approach, the situation of exception has exposed serious risks for European democracies, adding to the trend of deterioration documented in previous years.

On the other hand, 2020 has been characterised by an awakening of active citizenship to ensure at the widest possible scale effective access to basic rights that the crisis has put at risk. Many have found creative ways to be useful to their communities, to offer social and cultural tools against isolation, to volunteer for providing support to the weak and vulnerable which often happen to be the poorest, to act as watchdogs vis a vis the consequences of the democratic and social crises, and to propose societal alternatives."

See: Civic Space Watch report 2020: Stories from the lockdown is out! (European Civic Forum, link)

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