Markus Reinisch joined Facebook in March 2018 as the Vice President for Public Policy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. His portfolio includes the management of the company’s regional public policy strategy and key relationships with senior policy stakeholders. Prior to this, Markus was Global Public Policy Director at Vodafone, where he was responsible for leading the company’s work on developing policy strategies and engagement with policymakers. He has also held other executive policy roles within the communications industry including at Colt Group, Orange Group and Deloitte Consulting. Markus holds an LLM from the University of Warwick and a law degree from the University of Vienna.
The COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken to protect citizens have intensified the growing trend of “my country first,” multilateralism second. While border closures and restrictive security measures have quickly become the priority over joint solutions and coordinated action, governments enjoy increased trust from citizens. In democracies with vulnerable institutions or in those that displayed illiberal tendencies prior to the crisis, such power intensification can be an easy accelerator on the path towards further estrangement from the very founding principles of liberal democracy – notably the rule of law and equal protection of rights and freedoms. At the same time, the trend of de-liberalisation should be recognised as voters keep repeatedly choosing the conservative, nationalist, or populist leaders. Is this trend a natural expression of a need for change or a threat to democracy as we know it? How should international institutions react to such developments in their member states? Will this have any effect on transatlantic cooperation? What impact will social media have on democracy?