The European Commission today published the first report on the rule of law at EU level. Today's report contains information from all Member States and addresses positive and negative developments across the EU. It can be seen that many Member States have high standards of the rule of law, but the EU still faces major challenges in this area. Relevant developments arising from emergency measures taken by Member States due to the coronavirus crisis are also mentioned. The report addresses four main pillars with a strong impact on the rule of law: national judicial systems, anti-corruption frameworks, media freedom and pluralism, and other institutional issues related to the system of scrutiny and balance that are essential for an effective democratic governance system.
The aim of the new Rule of Law Report is to extend the existing package of EU instruments, ie to add a new preventive instrument, and to launch an inclusive debate and build a culture of the rule of law throughout the EU. The report should be used by all Member States when they are looking for the best way to deal with their shortcomings. It will help them learn from the experiences of other countries and show how the rule of law can be further strengthened with full respect for national constitutional systems and traditions.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: The rule of law and our common values are the foundation of our societies. They are part of our common European identity. The rule of law protects citizens from the rule of the powerful. Although we have very high standards of the rule of law in the EU, not everything is ideal. The European Commission will continue to work with national authorities to find solutions and guarantee the day-to-day rights and freedoms of citizens.
Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová said: Today, our rule of law package is receiving an important update. The new report analyzes all Member States in the same way for the first time in order to identify trends in the rule of law and help prevent serious problems. Every citizen deserves an independent judiciary, a free and pluralistic media and the assurance that his or her fundamental rights will be respected. We can only call ourselves a true union of democracies when we guarantee it to all citizens. "
Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection Didier Reynders said: The new Rule of Law Report is the beginning of an open and regular dialogue with each Member State and a way for us to exchange good practice and face problems before they become entrenched. The aim is to establish a true culture of the rule of law throughout the European Union and to launch a genuine debate at national and EU level.