Rule of law European Union

Extraordinary or extralegal responses? Covid-19 and the rule of law in the EU

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, EU Member States have been among the hardest-hit countries in the world. Suffering from high mortality rates and successive waves of infection, states (re)introduced highly restrictive measures.

To evaluate how the pandemic response has affected the rule of law across the EU, Democracy Reporting International gathered assessments from 35 national experts, covering all 27 Member States.

This analysis is brought together in DRI’s new report Extraordinary or extralegal responses? The rule of law and the COVID-19 crisis, which identifies five critical areas of concern across all EU Member States:

  1. Many COVID-19 measures do not have a clear basis in law.
  2. Rules are too vague or change too quickly to allow people and authorities to adjust.
  3. There is insufficient oversight of government action.
  4. The public was not consulted enough on the measures.
  5. There is no clear exit strategy.

The report also provides specific recommendations on how these issues could be addressed.

See also our previous reports on COVID-19 and the rule of law in the EU from May 2020 and July 2020.

Democracy Reporting International (DRI) works to improve public understanding of the rule of law in the EU as part of the re:constitution programme funded by Stiftung Mercator. Sign up for DRI’s newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out more about the rule of law in Europe.


Extraordinary or extralegal responses - The rule of law and the COVID-19 crisis Download