Summary title: Petition No 1397/2020 by Hilde De Smet (Belgian), on behalf of “Docs 4 open debate”, on the fundamental rights and freedoms of EU citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic
Petition number: 1397/2020
Topics: Constitutional Affairs, Justice, Health
Name of association: Docs4opendebate
Name: Hilde De Smet
The petitioner considers that the European Parliament should take position on exceptional measures to combat Covid-19 and ensure that the EU budget is implemented in accordance with the principles recognised in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The petitioner alerts the European Parliament about excessive public health countermeasures imposed by EU governments. She points out that while the unprecedented situation at the beginning of 2020 may have justified violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of EU citizens, the lockdowns, curtailments and other subsequent restrictions are no longer proportionate, justified or evidence-based. Furthermore, the petitioner denounces that the lack of consensus of the European scientific and medical community raises serious concerns about the proportionality of these countermeasures. While it is stated that these public health restrictions are supported by scientific evidence, there is a lack of consensus on the following: scale of the pandemic; suitability of PCR tests as a diagnostic tool; SARS-CoV-2 infection rate and its transmissibility in asymptomatic cases; attribution of deaths to Covid-19; justification for the proposed mass vaccination based on the precautionary principle. The petitioner indicates that the numerous limitations on essential public freedoms are being underestimated and that this leads citizens to fear the worst for the future of Europe and its democracies, legal systems, economies, lifestyles and generations to come. In this context she asks the European Parliament to set up a parliamentary inquiry committee to examine impartially the relevance of the public health policies implemented by the Member States since March 2020 and to verify the events that triggered and amplified the management of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as the social, economic and health crises that occurred. The petitioner calls for an assessment of the necessity, proportionality and justification of the exceptional measures taken by the Member States during this period, to investigate non-compliance with the Union’s founding values, such as respect for human dignity, freedom and respect for democracy and to consider activating Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union against Member States which may have exceeded them. She also asks the European Parliament to provide documentary evidence of the justification for the measures imposed: legislation enacted, economic impact, proportionality assessment, consideration of fundamental rights and application of the precautionary principle. This information will enable European citizens to fully assess the impact of these measures on their personal situation in order to seek a legal remedy, to lift these restrictions for lack of competence and to obtain compensation from the EU Court of Justice.