Expressing Civil and Political Liberties in Times of Crisis

COVID-19 first wave as a case study Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, and Romania
Expressing civil and political liberties
© Author: Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to our societies. These challenges have not only had health or economic aspects, but they also relate to the form and means of governance in a middle- and long-term timeframe.

The lessons learnt from the first wave of the pandemic could provide a key as to how to deal with the challenges brought by the next surges. The manifold clashes of governments, with their obligations to preserve individual rights and the critical public reaction, will surely lead to a more reasoned and citizen-oriented response.

This research on the limitation of civil and political rights in Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, and Romania during the first wave of the pandemic focuses on three main pillars: it gives a first-hand insight into the context in which the various governmental measures were introduced; the extent to which those individual rights were affected; and the shape and strength of the citizen’s response to the government-led measures.


The authorities also failed to excel at institutional communication. They tried to control the messaging, urging the population to consider only “official sources” and “official news”, they also blocked the media from accessing information and threatened whistle-blowers and journalists alike with penal sanctions if they didn't obey the blockade.

Cristina Lupu - Center for Independent Journalism

The crisis of good governance in Romania

The medical crisis hit Romania at a time of political turmoil, when the ruling party was trying to force snap parliamentary elections. Given this, we were caught without sufficient stocks of medical equipment, masks, disinfectants, and testing tools – or even the doctors to operate them. Additionally, the Romanian state did not seem to be prepared for what should have been a predictable event: hundreds of thousands of Romanians coming back home from countries like Italy and Spain.

Read here the whole analysis about how civil and political freedoms and rights were restricted in Romania as part of the governmental approach against COVID-19 and find out what were the reactions of the civil society in return.

You can download the analysis here:

  • Expressing Civil And Political Liberties in Times of Crisis

    Expressing Civil And Political Liberties in Times of Crisis