European democracy in a time of COVID-19: A conversation with Věra Jourová
The COVID-19 crisis is a moment of truth for the European Union, which was built on a narrative of shared responsibility, solidarity, and multilateralism.
Foreign actors, such as Moscow and Beijing, are exploiting the pandemic to expand their influence within Europe. At a time when malign actors are escalating their information operations, the European Commission has taken on an ambitious agenda to combat foreign interference, speak with one voice, to preserve the independent media underwriting democratic discourse, and ensure the digital domain is free and fair.
Within the European Union, there are also growing concerns that some leaders may use the health emergency as cover for increasing their control of state institutions and civil society. Existing disputes with a number of Member States over the adherence to the rule of law and democratic principles in the EU’s fundamental charter are coming to a head. In Hungary, parliament has granted Prime Minister Viktor Orban extensive emergency powers, Poland is pushing ahead with controversial judicial reforms, and a ruling by the German constitutional court on May 4 may challenge the ultimate authority of the European institutions to enforce the EU’s legal framework.
Combining both the European Commission’s disinformation and rule of law portfolios, Vice President Věra Jourová leads the Commission’s work on values and transparency. She has championed efforts to create common standards of information integrity, as well as the EU’s efforts to regulate tech and social media platforms. Vice President Jourová is also overseeing the Commission’s legal action against Poland for allegedly undermining judicial independence and has warned of the danger of autocratic governments using the coronavirus crisis to tighten their grip.
On May 20th, Vice President Jourová will join the Atlantic Council to discuss democracy and disinformation. The Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Digital Forensic Research Lab are delighted to co-host this live conversation.
Please join us on Tuesday, May 20, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (EDT) via Zoom. In order to participate in the event, please register using the registration form below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join.
H.E. Vera Jourová
Vice President, Values and Transparency
In conversation with
Director and Managing Editor, Digital Forensic Research Lab
Director, Future Europe Initiative