Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Expression in the Covid-19 Pandemic – The Polish Perspective

The outbreak of pandemic required extraordinary legal measures. However, the Polish government did not decide to declare a emergency state. At the same time, restrictions on the freedom of public assembly were gradually introduced. The code of petty offences was applied as tool of cooling effect against protestants. In these circumstances, the question is whether the pandemic administration redefines the thesis that no one can be prosecuted for exercising constitutional rights.

The coronavirus pandemic: crisis or opportunity for the Spanish “Estado autonomico”?

The theory of federalism has been overwhelmed in recent years by a series of events that forced a rethink. One such event was the worldwide spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. During the pandemic, powers were centralised in the hands of the Executive, to the detriment of territorial branches of States. One of the states that suffered this ‘downturn’ was the Spanish. The 1978 constituent’s choice of the “Estado autonómico” immediately fuelled a debate on the possible federal evolution of Spain, and the ‘coronavirus variable’ fuelled this debate even more: first there was a centralisation of powers in the hands of the Sanchez government – mortifying the “nationalist” and CCAA instances – and then giving birth to the cogobernanza that devolved almost totally to the Presidents of the CCAA the management of the emergency (illegitimate by the STC 183/2021). It is on these considerations that I propose a reflection on the possible federal evolution in Spain or to a ‘new’ centralization of powers.

The Resilience Challenge: why and how we should treasure this pandemic legacy

Recurring crises, systemic transitions and new challenges and threats have drawn attention to legal resilience – both resilience through law and the resilience of law (Sari, 2021; Ungar 2021). The Covid-19 pandemic itself was a testing ground for legal resilience and new resilient regulatory strategies (Boschetti & Poli, 2021 and 2022). The formal recognition of resilience as a key concept/principle of the Next Generation EU regulatory framework (article 2 of Regulation 241/2021/EU) is part of the pandemic’s legacy. It is a game changer for the post-pandemic world, with a two-pronged adaptive capability: defensive, to resist shocks, and proactive, to make change possible. This paper aims to help understand what resilience is in law, its novelty compared with other principles (from sustainability to a precautionary approach) traditionally used to deal with uncertainty and applied to legal resilience approaches (Robinson, 2014), and how it can be taken seriously in the legal field.

THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 OVER THE ELECTIONS IN EUROPE: SIGNIFICANT, BUT NOT DEADLY

The fear that holding elections could contribute to the further spread of Covid-19, contributed to postponing 22 election processes in Europe during the first part of 2020. All the postponed elections due to Covid-19 were eventually held at different time intervals, even though their organization was difficult and followed by great number of special Covid-19 protocols. Still, European countries, despite all the difficulties, successfully conducted electoral processes during 2020 and 2021. It is true that it was difficult to organize the elections and that the voter turnout was declined, yet the flexibility and activity of the European governments has contributed to the conduct of elections, while keeping the democratic processes running in Europe. In this regard, the aim of the paper will be to analyze the decisions taken during Covid-19 in regards to the organization of elections in Europe, as well as the impact of Covid-19 on the turnout and overall outcome of the held elections.