States of emergency

AuthorEuropean Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU body or agency)
EU Member States continued to lift states of emergency, or their equivalent, in June
as the health situation improved. However, other emergency situations remained
in place in many Member States, prompting concerns about ongoing limitations
on fundamental rights. This report uses the respective national terminology,
without prejudice to the specif‌ic legal consequences different terms may refer to.
It is a basic principle of international human rights standards that any restrictions
to a right must be prescribed by law, proportionate and necessary, and of limited
duration. Well-established case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR),
based on Article15 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), provides
that derogations need to be notif‌ied, and should happen only in exceptional
circumstances and in a limited and supervised manner to secure certain rights and
freedoms under the ECHR. Latvia withdrew its remaining derogations from the
ECHR, which concerned Article8 (respect for private and family life) and Article2
of Protocol4 (freedom of movement), on 10June. As reported in Bulletin #3, the
other EU Member States (Estonia and Romania) that had notif‌ied a derogation
from the ECHR in times of emergency withdrew these derogations in May.
As reported in previous bulletins, the situation concerning states of emergency
– or their equivalent – varied greatly across the EU:
States of emergency in France (in place until 10July) and Italy (until 31July)
remained in place. The emergency ordinances in the Netherlands’ ‘safety
regions’ remained in force until the end of June. The state of emergency in
Lithuania continued, but the quarantine regime ended on 16June.
A number of Member States extended the measures that had earlier
replaced states of emergency (see
Bulletin #3). Bulgaria extended
its emergency epidemic situation until 15July, Portugal extended its
situation of calamity to 30June and Romania prolonged the state of
alert for 30 days from 16June
Several other countries took a similar approach, as states of emergency
ended but other emergency measures were introduced or remained in place.
These included Hungary (state of danger ended on 18June, replaced by
state of epidemiological preparedness), Luxembourg (state of emergency
ended on 24June, replaced by two laws providing for the continuation of
many emergency measures) and Latvia (emergency situation ended on
9June, replaced by a special regulation). Slovakia’s state of emergency
ended on 13June, but the state of crisis remains in place.
state of emergency in Finland ended on 16June, while Spain’s state
of alarm ended on 21June
All countries, including
here in Europe, are facing a
delicate balance between
protecting their people,
while minimizing the social
and economic damage, and
respecting human rights.
WHO Director-General DrTedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
remarks at the Standing
of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe (PACE),

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