Věra Jourová is currently Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency and deals with democracy, rule of law, disinformation and media pluralism. From 2014 to 2019, she served as EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. In 2014, before arriving in the European Commission, Ms Jourová held the position of Minister for Regional Development in the Czech Republic. Previous to this, from 2006 to 2013, she worked in her own company as an international consultant on European Union funding and was also involved in consultancy activities in the Western Balkans relating to the European Union Accession. She holds a Degree in Law (Mgr.) and a Master's degree (Mgr.) in the Theory of Culture from the Charles University, Prague.
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?