Day: March 31, 2020

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Laws Passed in Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic

It’s now springtime in the northern hemisphere, and we’re now several weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic.

As consumer advocates, our job has never relinquished: we’re there to closely monitor regulatory trends in major capitals to inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice.

With governments scrambling to protect its citizens, we’ve seen an unprecedented push to both pass and repeal laws in order to better fight against the virus. Some have been greatly beneficial to consumer choice, while others leave us scratching our heads.

Here’s a list of some of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly laws we’ve seen around the world.

Providing Healthcare

The Good

Massachusetts and other American states are removing regulations that prohibit medical professionals from practicing in other states

The United Kingdom has removed regulations that limited the quick production and shipping of medical supplies for its health professionals.

The U.S. relaxed rules on what can constitute a hospital, as makeshift healthcare facilities have sprung up around the country. It also has allowed more telemedicine, which was previously severely limited.

New York State has opened up its recommendation process for prescription drugs, allowing patients to have more choice.

The Bad

Early on, the Centers For Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration monopolized and centralized all testing, slowing down the initial response to the growing number of cases in multiple jurisdictions.

The Ugly

The Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated companies sold tests later determined to be faulty to countries including Spain and the Czech Republic. In the Czech Republic, for example, 80% of the tests were found to not work in the slightest.

Alcohol Delivery

The Good

Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces legalized alcohol delivery and takeout options for restaurants and bars, helping to keep these stores in business while they’re forced to shut down their physical presence. This includes jurisdictions that previously did not allow for alcohol delivery.

The Bad

The Commonwealth of Pennslyvania closed all liquor stores in response to the coronavirus. Because the state maintains a monopoly on liquor, that means no Pennlsyvania residents are able to acquire liquor at this time. This has pushed thousands to visit neighboring states to purchase their booze.

In New Jersey, several liquor stores have been totally emptied by Pennsylvania residents alone!

The Ugly

South Africa has banned all alcohol sales until at least April 16th. Greenland followed the same blanket ban until the same date.

Surveillance and Technology

The Good

The FCC’s Keep America Connected Pledge has garnered the support of more than 60 companies committed to raising broadband speeds, removing all data caps, and providing better service during the pandemic. That means there will be no forced reduction of quality as is being mandated in the European Union via its net neutrality rules.

Germany will soon issue coronavirus “immunity certificates” to indicate who has recovered from the virus and is ready to re-enter society.

The Bad

Israel passed an emergency measure to allow the government to track mobile phone data in order to track the spread of the coronavirus.

Dozens of other countries are using mobile phone data secured from ad agencies to track the movements of citizens and to enforce social distancing. Over 500 U.S. cities are now tracking its residents.

The Ugly

South Africa will allow 10,000 field workers to “check up on people in the homes” if they have coronavirus.

Countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, and Myanmar have resorted to shutting down the Internet in the wake of the pandemic.

When the crisis first began in China, its forces shut down and jailed journalists and doctors who warned about the spread of the disease. It has been labeled a cover-up.

Rule of Law

The Good

In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has reluctantly passed some restrictions, but wants to keep citizens free to come and go to ensure their freedoms during this time.

“And even if that were possible in practice – making people stay in their homes unless they have permission to go outside, for such a lengthy period – the virus could simply rear its head again once the measures were lifted. The Netherlands is an open country.”

The Bad

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to be tried on corruption charges, but due to the coronavirus, he shut down all courts and thus will still avoid a verdict.

The Ugly

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a vote that will allow him to rule by decree, without opposition nor elections, with no end date. This effectively erases the rule of law.

Do you have other examples? Write to us at info@consumerchoicecenter.org.

[EU] Public consultation for the EU climate ambition for 2030 and for the design of certain climate and energy policies of the European Green Deal


Global warming is happening and affecting citizens while threatening our long-term sustainability on this planet. The average temperature of our planet has already increased by 1°C and the world is currently not on track to achieve the Paris Agreement objective of limiting temperature change below 2°C, let alone 1.5° C. The 2018 special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 1.5°C indicated that already at 2°C the world would see dramatic and potentially irreversible impacts due to climate change. Science is also clear on the close link and interdependence of climate change and biodiversity loss.

The EU has taken global leadership in tackling climate change and actively pursues policies to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and to decouple these from economic growth. This allows the EU to modernise its economy and energy system, making them sustainable in the long term and to improve energy security and the health of its citizens by reduced air pollution.

The EU has already adopted climate and energy legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Furthermore, it adopted ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation, whose full implementation is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing target – by around 45% by 2030. As part of this legislation, Member States develop National Energy and Climate Plans to ensure that common EU objectives will be met. Unless complemented by further policies, the agreed legislation is expected to lead to around 60% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2050. In 2018, the Commission proposed for the EU to become climate compensating any remaining GHG emissions by absorptions. The European Parliament neutral by 2050 and the European Council endorsed this objective in 2019. The Commission has proposed to enshrine this objective in the European Climate Law.

According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, 93% of EU citizens see climate change as a serious problem and a significant majority of the EU population wants to see increased action on climate change. As a reflection of this and due to the urgency of the climate and linked ecological challenges, the European Commission has proposed in December 2019 a as one of its priorities including a list European Green Deal of forthcoming proposals to deliver it. The Green Deal aims, among others, to align all EU policies with the 2050 climate neutrality objective, sending an early and predictable signal to all sectors and actors to plan
2 for the transformation.

As part of the Green Deal, the Commission intends to propose to increase the EU’s 2030 target for greenhouse gas emission reductions to at least -50% and towards -55% compared to 1990 levels, in a responsible way. The Commission will thoroughly assess the feasibility and the social, economic and environmental impacts of increasing the 2030 target. This assessment will look into how to increase ambition in a way that enhances EU competitiveness, ensures social fairness and access to secure, affordable and sustainable energy and other material resources, benefits citizens and reverses biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. The Commission intends to present a comprehensive plan to increase the EU 2030 climate target in the third quarter of 2020.

Building on the existing 2030 legislation and the upcoming comprehensive plan, the Commission will review and propose to revise, where necessary, the key relevant energy and climate legislation by June 2021. This will include a coherent set of changes to the existing 2030 climate, energy and transport framework, notably related to the EU Emissions Trading System Directive, the Effort Sharing Regulation and the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation, CO Emissions Performance Standards for Cars and Vans 2 and, as appropriate, the Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive.

This public consultation invites citizens and organisations to contribute to the assessment of how to increase the EU 2030 emission reduction ambition in a responsible way. Please note that relevant questions and topics may also be covered under other public consultations such as for instance the Strategy on Sustainable and Smart Mobility, the EU Adaptation Strategy, the “Farm to Fork” Strategy, the Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Targeted Consultation for the Evaluation of the Guidelines on State aid for Environmental protection and Energy 2014-2020.


Scroll to top