Perspectives from Northern and Southern Europe


12:00 – 12:15  Introduction by Centerleder, professor Helle Krunke, University of Copenhagen
12:15 – 12:55 Constitutional responses to Covid-19 in Sweden in a Nordic context by Anna Jonsson Cornell
12:55 – 13:15  Analysing the responses of the Spanish Government to the Pandemic /COVID 19, from a constitutional perspective by Antoni Abat Ninet
13:15 – 13:35 The Italian response to the pandemic: A case of disloyal cooperation? By Cristina Fasone
13:35 – 14:00 Q & A Session

Abstracts and bios:


In her talk Anna Jonsson Cornell will take the Swedish response to the Covid-19 pandemic as a starting point for a Nordic comparison. Sweden’s response stands out in a global and regional context. It has been both criticized and commended for its soft law approach. Initially, the Swedish approach was described in terms of Swedish constitutional exceptionality - political leadership was not allowed , according to Swedish constitutional law, intervene in the handling of the crisis. However, as more investigations and analysis are conducted a more diverse and complicated situation emerges. Political culture, the impact of science on decision-making, a fragmented and occasionally  poorly coordinated crisis management system are  other important explanations that will be high lighted as potential explanations to the Swedish response. The overall questions is, what role does the Swedish constitutional silence on peace time emergencies, including public health emergencies, play, if any? 

Anna Jonsson Cornell is professor of comparative constitutional law at the Faculty of Law, Uppsala University. She is a co-founder of a multi-disciplinary research network on Leadership, Efficiency and Rule of Law during Peace Time Crises. She currently serves as vice-dean of the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University, and Secretary General of the International Association of Constitutional Law.



At the very first stages of the pandemic, Slavoj Žižek and Giorgio Agamben presented a dialectic opposition to necessary measures that governments needed to adopt in order to respond the emergency and panic that the COVID 19 was causing. This philosophical debate is a perfect representation of some of the questions and challenges that governments around the world faced, and Spain was not an exception. After remarking some of the main issues of this philosophical enquiry, the presentation analyses in chronological order some of the most relevant responses that the Spanish Government made and their constitutional justification.

The presentation takes special account of the role of the army developed in the most catastrophic period of the emergency in Spain; the abuse of the state of emergency and the curfew to restrict citizen’s mobility and finally, the recentralisation of competences a sort of emergency centralism that the pandemic has caused. The presentation concludes with the role that the EU may play throughout the stimulus package for Europe “New Generation” in order to boost the recovery of the Spanish economy but also of some the EU founding values and principles.

Visiting Professor of Constitutional Law and Legal Theory, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. From 2013 to 2020, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Copenhagen Law School. Prof. Abat last publication is: Constitutional Crowdsourcing: Democratising Original and Derived Constituent Power in the Digital Era, Edward Elgar, July/2021.



The response to the pandemic by the Italian Governments in office over the last year and a half has sparked criticism by some, while has been praised by others. If a common feature can be detected, navigating through the various waves of the pandemic and the alternation amongst the executives, this has been the lack of loyal cooperation – a principle acknowledged and valued by the Italian Constitution – amongst the levels of government and the institutions. On the one hand, we have witnessed trends toward the re-centralisation of powers as a consequence of the emergency declared, but, at the same time, attempts of regions to apply stricter or milder standards of health care protection and for the guarantee of fundamental freedoms in breach of the State legislation, as it was recently declared by the Constitutional Court. On the other hand, the relationship between the Government and the Parliament has been particularly tense, with a further marginalization of the legislature, already under way well before the pandemic, and a questionable implementation of the principle of legality, though for a limited period of time.

(PhD. from the University of Siena) is Assistant Professor of Comparative Public Law at LUISS University, in Rome, and Visiting Professor at Nicolaus Copernicus University of Toruń, Faculty of Law. A member of the steering committee of the ECPR Research Network on Differentiated Integration, she has held a Jean Monnet Module 2016-2019 on "Parliamentary accountability and technical expertise: Budgetary Powers, Information and Communication Technologies and Elections" (PATEU) and has been Max Weber Post-doctoral Fellow in Law at the European University Institute, Florence. Cristina has been a Visiting Scholar at the Victoria University of Wellington, Georgetown Law Center, Uppsala University, Complutense University, the University of Copenhagen, Durham Law School. Her research interests include differentiated integration, independent fiscal institutions, parliamentary studies, democracy in Europe, constitutional adjudication.


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More seminars:
This is the fourth event of the CECS seminar series: Global, European, constitutional and legal cultural perspectives on pandemics / Covid19 - SPRING 2021. See the list of all the seminars here.