The year 2020 was one of remarkable juxtapositions. On the one hand, the EU introduced and developed multiple policy and legal frameworks, long-term strategies and action plans relating to a broad spectrum of fundamental rights. The reflection and foresight they embody will shape political agendas for years to come – whether on equality, social inclusion, artificial intelligence, migration, disability, victims’ rights or the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
On the other hand, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic served as a brutal reminder of how quickly unanticipated challenges can dominate world events – and underlined the importance of being able to tear up scripts and adapt on the spot. It too will surely leave a lasting mark.
Not surprisingly, this year’s focus section, ‘The Coronavirus pandemic and fundamental rights: a year in review’, explores the pandemic’s profound effect on a wide range of human and fundamental rights. The section also highlights some positive measures nimbly devised by diverse authorities. Yet mostly it paints a rather grim picture of challenges and inequalities often exacerbated by the – still ongoing – health crisis.