The Communication presented today takes stock of the available tools to monitor, assess, and protect the rule of law in the Union. It also looks back at the experience of the past years so that we can start a wider European debate on how the rule of law could be further strengthened. The past experience, in particular, points to the need for better promotion of the rule of law, early prevention of risks or breaches to the rule of law, and effective response when such issues occur in the Union.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The Union’s capacity to uphold the rule of law is essential, now more than ever. First because it is an issue of fundamental values, a matter of ‘who we are’. Second, because the functioning of the EU as a whole depends on the rule of law in all member states. Now is the time to reflect together with all institutions, Member States, different authorities and stakeholders on how to defend and bolster the rule of law in the Union.”
In the last years, the rule of law in Europe has come under increased pressure. Common and concrete concerns were raised in debates within the Union, at international level and by civil society. It has become clear that more needs to be done to ensure that the rule of law is defended, strengthened and upheld throughout the Union. Building on the ongoing debates and past experience today’s Communication aims to start this process by setting out possible avenues for reflection on future action.