Lessons learnt by the EU during the pandemic that can be used as potential soft-power tools

Research Paper by Eliza Vas



To which extent the European Union can act as an effective promoter of democracy and multilateralism following the domestic challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The research aims to analyse the extent to which the European Union can be an effective promoter of democracy and multilateralism at a global scale following the domestic lessons learned during the pandemic. In this regard, we will firstly be looking at the measures implemented by the Member States, with focus on a selection of three (Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria) that had an impact on democracy in order to identify the preliminary outcomes for the civil society, the fundamental freedoms and data protection among others. Secondly, we will be identifying the European Union’s response (European Commission and the European Parliament among others) to the above-mentioned situations to see the extent to which it managed to send relevant signals regarding the safeguarding of democracy in the respective Member States. Thirdly, deriving from the previous overview, we will be seeking to detect a series of lessons that can be learnt from the European Union’s experience in dealing with domestic challenges for democracy. Fourthly, we will be aiming to assess how these lessons can be further promoted as soft power tools at a global scale and if the EU can be an effective promoter of democracy in current and future multilateral settings.


About the author

Eliza Vaș has been working for the European Institute of Romania since 2014, as an expert in European Affairs. She is author and co-author to several publications, her research being focused on European policies, democracy, and citizen participation. She has been involved in the Romanian non-governmental sector since 2009 and is currently Policy & Strategy Director of the Young Initiative Association, a Romanian education-based NGO. Her non-governmental work is focused on projects promoting European values, civic engagement, and youth empowerment. As a PhD candidate in International Relations and European Studies with the Babeș-Bolyai University, she is conducting research on the role of civil society in the East and Central Europe democratization process.

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