Online International Conference on parliamentary work in times of Covid-19
What are key challenges and lessons for parliaments in the context of the coronavirus pandemic? IParl discussed these questions during an online conference hosted by the USAID Rada Program with deputies and parliamentarian experts from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Luxembourg, the European Parliament, UK, Ukraine, the USA and Switzerland. Challenges and solution approaches of parliamentary work in Germany were presented for the IParl by Benjamin Höhne, Jan Menzer and Anastasia Pyschny.
The conclusion of the conference was a positive one: Due to the Corona-pandemic, the deputies work differently, but they are still capable of acting. Often, hybrid forms of parliamentary work were chosen, which means a coexistence of on- and offline activities. However, there was a broad consensus about the point that a permanent state of the current and sometimes experimental operation method is not desirable. Instead of activating the emergency mode of parliaments, it is essential to make them crisis-resistant for the future. Referring to this, Victoria Ann Hasson of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) said: „Parliaments must work out not just how to go virtual but how to go beyond their traditional democratic offer while doing so.”