COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, welcomes the statement recently released by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), calling the EU and its Member States to be vigilant on the “necessity and proportionality of any policy and technological intervention that – taken in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic – suspends, even temporarily, fundamental rights”.
Since late February 2020 the EU and its Member States have been reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic with a series of precautionary and legislative measures that, while aimed at mapping and slowing the contagion, also tend to temporarily restrict the fundamental rights on which the European Union is founded.
These measures include border closures, social distancing, quarantine and the adoption of new technological tools.
“It is a priority for the EU and its Member States to ensure the restoration of these fundamental rights as soon as the sanitary situation allows it”, states Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, General Secretary of COMECE.
Fr. Prieto also welcomes the EGE document for highlighting the importance of “vigilance about the necessity, evidence, proportionality of any policy and technological intervention that, even temporarily, suspends fundamental rights”.
COMECE further endorses EGE’s call for “fostering solidarity at the European and global level”, especially in those countries where people are suffering the most, and reiterates Pope Francis’ Easter message encouraging all of us to “not lose the opportunity to give further proof of solidarity, also by turning to innovative solutions”.
In such a historical and fragile moment, COMECE calls European and national authorities to serve the common good by sharing information, experiences, innovations and resources, and to base every political decision – especially if with a restrictive character – on the principles of trust, transparency, accountability and rule of law.