What should the new normality look like?

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to fall in most European countries, more and more restrictions are being lifted. But the political will to go beyond the old normality is lacking, some commentators complain. A missed opportunity and risky to boot, they say.

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Denník N (SK) /

Only with new rules

It's wrong to believe that we can go back to living as we did before the pandemic, Denník N writes:

“Of course, vaccination reduces both the risks and the scope for the virus to thrive. But they won't disappear altogether, they will just become part of our world. ... Just like working from home, combining regular and distance learning, wearing masks, online shopping, etc., they will be part of the new normality. The economy, social policy, health and culture must adapt to this new situation. ... Especially seeing as there will be a new subdivision of people into those who have been vaccinated and those who don't want to be vaccinated.”

Aamulehti (FI) /

Time to get the rule of law sorted out

Aamulehti calls for a broad social debate:

“Now that the vaccination machinery is running the big question is: what comes next? The world won't return to how it used to be once everyone has had two jabs and goes back to working at the office. Social ties have been cut, psychological stress is too high, personal finances have been wiped out, people have ended up outside the safety nets. At the same time, the principles of our rule of law have been dangerously undermined because restrictions have not always been proportionate, or even had an adequate legal basis. The work starts now, with the lifting of the Covid restrictions. And everyone must be involved. The rule of law must be debated and put in order now, so that fundamental rights are no longer so at risk when the next crisis rolls around.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Stimulate positive trends

The Netherlands will lift almost all Covid-related restrictions on Saturday. De Volkskrant criticises that steps are not being taken to establish a different society than the pre-Covid one:

“We've got used to [less flying, less travelling and working from home], we know that a lot of travelling isn't necessary. And we could now think about putting the country on a different footing - from roads and housing to the market for office buildings. The state can't regulate everything, but it can stimulate alternatives. Not just with taxes and subsidies, but above all with words. ... Instead, the motto seems to be to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible. And then soon the whole country will be back to being stuck in traffic jams twice a day and companies will have their people flying halfway around the world for a meeting again.”