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THE INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSE TO
THE COVID CHALLENGE: HOW
PARLIAMENTS AND GOVERNMENTS
HAVE RESPONDED TO THE PANDEMIC
Dr Fotis Fitsilis
Head of Department for Scientific Documentation
and Supervision, Scientific Service
Hellenic Parliament
International Webinar
on Covid-19 and Law
18 February 2021
STRUCTURE
 General remarks
 The Greek use case
 Institutional responses
 International examples
 Alternative approaches
 Discussion
 Conclusions
F
OR
THE
RECORD
GENERAL REMARKS
 This is an on-going crisis
 Dynamic response
… no flat, ‘one-size-fits-all’ decisions
 Legal and administrative nightmare
 Lack of foreseeable end
 Evaluation of response could be wrong
…or biased
 A wider research framework is needed
 Comparative studies useful
 Analysis of first response
LEGAL GROUNDS
Example: Greece (now in its third lockdown situation)
 Executive orders / ‘Acts of Legislative Content’
(PNP’s)
 Greek Constitution: art. 44
 To be ratified by parliament within 40 days
 PNP  Law 4682/2020: ‘Urgent measures to avoid
and limit the spread of the corona virus’
 Many more followed
 approx. 500, see Sotiropoulos, 2021
 Extensive web of bylaws and administrative
decisions
USE OF ‘SOFT LAW’
Key issues
 Informal rules
 Regulations
 Guidelines
 Codes
 Non-legally, but politically binding
 See Stefan, O.A. (2020) and Rajamani, L. (2009)
‘informal code, so-called “rules of conduct”, which
produces legal and practical effects without having
legally binding force’
T
HE
G
REEK
C
ASE
GOVERNMENTAL FIRST
RESPONSE
 Shift and tele-working
 Speedy, emergency recruitments for
battling the pandemic, 15,306 till Nov.
2020
+ Rapid development of digital skills
+ Development of informal inter-
institutional networks to ‘get-the-job-
done’
- Delays on several occasions
- Stressful and unknown environment
o Portugal:
administrative modernization service,
collects data on which units where
available to the public with physical
present
o Slovenia/Spain/Austria: unified
deadline extension granted, e.g. for
taxes & certificates
INTERNATIONAL GOOD PRACTICE A
o Latvia/Belgium/France:
granted higher autonomy to higher
public service officials (delegation of
power)
o Singapore/Greece/…:
Distribution of latest epidemic data
with public, private and social
stakeholders
See e.g. https://covid19.gov.gr/
INTERNATIONAL GOOD PRACTICE B
PARLIAMENTARY RESPONSES
 Maintaining institutional balance
 Providing legitimacy to executive actions
 Up keeping the democratic principle
 Global and regional surveys, e.g.
 Inter-Parliamentary Union
 Westminster Foundation for Democracy
 ParlAmericas
 Inter Pares
 Study of Parliament Group
T
HE
H
ELLENIC
P
ARLIAMENT
THE FIRST PARLIAMENTARY
RESPONSE
o Adjustment of parliamentary work
to social distancing
o Set an example for society
o Plenary: limited presence and
speaking time
o Standing committees: continued
working
o Special permanent committees:
mostly suspended
o Parliamentary control: limited to
once a week
ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT
 Safety personnel
 Home office / VPN access
 Digital transformation path opened
 Teleconferencing
 VPN access
 Digital platforms and services
 Strengthening of …
 digital infrastructure
 digital ‘way of doing things’
 digital skills
CONCLUSIONS & OUTLOOK
 Diverse responses
 Digital transformation
 Lots of informal conduct
 Open questions:
 What if it strikes again?
 Sustainability of solutions?
 Research framework?
 Legal challenges around a vaccination certificate?
‘digital evolution goes hand-in-hand with
organizational transformation’
DISCLAIMER
The information and views set out in this
presentation and the proposed study are only
those of the authors and do not reflect the official
opinion of the Hellenic Parliament.
THANK YOU!
fitsilisf@parliament.gr
https://fitsilis.gr

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The institutional response to the Covid challenge: how parliaments and governments have responded to the pandemic

  • 1. THE INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSE TO THE COVID CHALLENGE: HOW PARLIAMENTS AND GOVERNMENTS HAVE RESPONDED TO THE PANDEMIC Dr Fotis Fitsilis Head of Department for Scientific Documentation and Supervision, Scientific Service Hellenic Parliament International Webinar on Covid-19 and Law 18 February 2021
  • 2. STRUCTURE  General remarks  The Greek use case  Institutional responses  International examples  Alternative approaches  Discussion  Conclusions
  • 3. F OR THE RECORD GENERAL REMARKS  This is an on-going crisis  Dynamic response … no flat, ‘one-size-fits-all’ decisions  Legal and administrative nightmare  Lack of foreseeable end  Evaluation of response could be wrong …or biased  A wider research framework is needed  Comparative studies useful  Analysis of first response
  • 4. LEGAL GROUNDS Example: Greece (now in its third lockdown situation)  Executive orders / ‘Acts of Legislative Content’ (PNP’s)  Greek Constitution: art. 44  To be ratified by parliament within 40 days  PNP  Law 4682/2020: ‘Urgent measures to avoid and limit the spread of the corona virus’  Many more followed  approx. 500, see Sotiropoulos, 2021  Extensive web of bylaws and administrative decisions
  • 5. USE OF ‘SOFT LAW’ Key issues  Informal rules  Regulations  Guidelines  Codes  Non-legally, but politically binding  See Stefan, O.A. (2020) and Rajamani, L. (2009) ‘informal code, so-called “rules of conduct”, which produces legal and practical effects without having legally binding force’
  • 6. T HE G REEK C ASE GOVERNMENTAL FIRST RESPONSE  Shift and tele-working  Speedy, emergency recruitments for battling the pandemic, 15,306 till Nov. 2020 + Rapid development of digital skills + Development of informal inter- institutional networks to ‘get-the-job- done’ - Delays on several occasions - Stressful and unknown environment
  • 7. o Portugal: administrative modernization service, collects data on which units where available to the public with physical present o Slovenia/Spain/Austria: unified deadline extension granted, e.g. for taxes & certificates INTERNATIONAL GOOD PRACTICE A
  • 8. o Latvia/Belgium/France: granted higher autonomy to higher public service officials (delegation of power) o Singapore/Greece/…: Distribution of latest epidemic data with public, private and social stakeholders See e.g. https://covid19.gov.gr/ INTERNATIONAL GOOD PRACTICE B
  • 9. PARLIAMENTARY RESPONSES  Maintaining institutional balance  Providing legitimacy to executive actions  Up keeping the democratic principle  Global and regional surveys, e.g.  Inter-Parliamentary Union  Westminster Foundation for Democracy  ParlAmericas  Inter Pares  Study of Parliament Group
  • 10. T HE H ELLENIC P ARLIAMENT THE FIRST PARLIAMENTARY RESPONSE o Adjustment of parliamentary work to social distancing o Set an example for society o Plenary: limited presence and speaking time o Standing committees: continued working o Special permanent committees: mostly suspended o Parliamentary control: limited to once a week
  • 11. ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT  Safety personnel  Home office / VPN access  Digital transformation path opened  Teleconferencing  VPN access  Digital platforms and services  Strengthening of …  digital infrastructure  digital ‘way of doing things’  digital skills
  • 12. CONCLUSIONS & OUTLOOK  Diverse responses  Digital transformation  Lots of informal conduct  Open questions:  What if it strikes again?  Sustainability of solutions?  Research framework?  Legal challenges around a vaccination certificate? ‘digital evolution goes hand-in-hand with organizational transformation’
  • 13. DISCLAIMER The information and views set out in this presentation and the proposed study are only those of the authors and do not reflect the official opinion of the Hellenic Parliament. THANK YOU! fitsilisf@parliament.gr https://fitsilis.gr