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Lunch event: lessons from 2021

When:Th 09-12-2021 12:00 - 13:00

Dear relation,

Mark Thursday 9 December in your calendar! Together with our research group Democracy & Governance we are organizing a webinar entitled: "A year in review: What lessons to draw from 2021?"

2021 has been marked by a series of major societal and political issues. The Covid-19 pandemic goes on and is taking a toll on societies across the world; elections were held in the Netherlands in March but a government is yet to be formed; the COP26 Summit was held and a not-so-ambitious agreement was ratified; and liberal democracy is threatened within the European Union, as reflected in the current rule of law crisis in Poland.
During this event, experts from the University of Groningen will give short presentations summarizing some of the core issues that marked 2021. This event is aimed at students and RUG staff members. All attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions to our experts.
The following short presentations will be given:  

What happened in Poland in 2021 (and why did it concern us too)?
By prof. John Morijn

2021 saw Poland and the EU increasingly openly on a collision course over the rule of law. Judicial independence is under tremendous pressure and free media are under increasing pressure too. In October the Polish Constitutional Court declared that European Court of Justice caselaw about these topics should no longer apply in Poland. The EU suspended funding as a result of so-called LGBTI-free zones in some Polish cities and blocked funding for COVID-funding. There is no solution in sight. What is the conflict about, what is at stake and what are the options for the EU and its Member States?

Evaluation of CoronaMelder: the contact tracing app developed by the Dutch ministry of Health can help to reduce infections
By dr. Esther Metting

The Dutch ministry of health developed the app CoronaMelder to reduce the spread of the virus. I was part of the evaluation team and in this presentation, I share my experiences. Epidemiological modelling showed that the use of contact tracing applications can detect infected people in an earlier stage and thereby reduce the risk of re-infections. Due to strict privacy regulations our evaluation team had to be creative to evaluate the actual effectiveness of the app. With questionnaires, modelling and data from the GGD we were able to perform a heterogeneous study. This study took place last winter, partly during lockdown. CoronaMelder has a small but detectable effect on the reduction of infection even though society was mostly closed at that time.

Challenges of forming a new Dutch government
By prof. Gerrit Voerman

In March this year parliamentary elections were held in the Netherlands, but more than 250 days later there is still no new government – while at the same time Dutch politics is facing major challenges (corona pandemic, climate change, etc.). In Germany, by contrast, a new government was formed within 60 days after the Bundestag elections. Why does is it take such a long time in the Netherlands before the political parties come to an agreement ? And in which way could it be done faster? And is the outgoing government legitimized to take stringent measures to combat the pandemic?

To watch the live stream of the D&G Lunch Webinar on 9 December 2021 send an email to sustainablesociety

Prof. John Morijn

Professor of law and politics in international relations, Law Faculty, University of Groningen

John Morijn holds an LLM in EU law from the College of Europe (Bruges) and a PhD in international law from the European University Institute (Florence). Between 2009-18 he worked as a civil servant for the Dutch government, both in The Hague and Brussels. He is currently a commissioner at the Netherlands Human Rights Institute, a member of the Dutch Advisory Council for Migration and a professor of law.

Dr. Esther Metting

Data Science Center in Health (DASH), UMCG and faculty of economics and business University of Groningen

Field of interest: improvement of eHealth access for people with low digital skills

Dr. Metting is a psychologist and epidemiologist by training, working as assistant professor at the Data Science Center in Health (DASH) and the University of Groningen. Since September 2021, she is a member of the Young Academy Groningen. During the COVID-19 crisis she evaluated the CoronaMelder and CoronaCheck applications for VWS and led the evaluation of the COVID-19 fast testing lane for education organizations in Groningen. She also worked as project leader eHealth in a large health care organization and is active as board member or advisor for several patient organizations.

Prof. Gerrit Voerman

Professor of Development and Functioning of the Dutch and European Party System, Law Faculty,  University of Groningen and Director of the Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties.

He holds a PhD in history from the University of Groningen. He has published widely on Dutch political parties, especially on party history and identity; organization and membership; and candidate selection. Since 2008, he serves as editor of a series on the political parties in the Netherlands.

We look forward to meeting you on 9 December 2021!

Kindest regards,

The D&G team
The Sustainable Society team

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