In the last few week, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, some political leaders in Europe have taken advantage of anunprecedented health situation to take disproportionate and unlimited powers to themselves.
In Hungary, for instance, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has passed an incredible emergency law, giving him full powers for an indefinite period, which only himself can lift. No executive needs such a concentration of powers and nothing, not even the current health crisis, justifies such an authoritarian manoeuvre.
Together with 85 Members of the European Parliament, coming from all political groups, we, Pirates, are calling for effective tools to protect our fundamental democratic values. Core principles should be laid down at European level to provide a framework for exceptional laws in times of crisis.
Emergency laws, upon approval from national parliaments, should be accompanied by a “self-destruction” clause stipulating that it should cease to apply automatically at a predetermined time and should all be cancelled at the same time. They must be proportionate and limited to what is strictly necessary. It is also indispensable, especially during times of crisis, to maintain the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the media and the civil society.