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The efficiency of EU instruments to strengthen the rule of law

Geralt / Pixabay
Geralt / Pixabay

In collaboration with FES and in light of increasing rule of law issues in EU member states, IEP is developing a policy brief that evaluates existing instruments, identifies complementary approaches and recommends new courses of action in the context of the Zeitenwende.

A democratic form of government and adherence to the rule of law are fundamental principles of the European Union (EU). Yet, the rule of law appears to be under threat in some of its member states. Published in July 2022, the European Commission's Rule of Law Report raises concerns. In some EU countries worrisome trends can be observed, such as the weakening of the judiciary and the dismantling of democratic control mechanisms (Hungary, Poland); inadequate anti-corruption measures (Bulgaria, Greece, Malta); or a misuse of espionage programs for political purposes (France, Spain, Greece). These developments require coordinated action at the European level.

The onset of the 'Zeitenwende' - a new geopolitical pressure under which the EU must continue to function and protect its democratic architecture – heralds a new orientation towards a proactive defence of European values, such as democracy and the rule of law. It could therefore serve as an impetus for reshaping European policy in this area.

To achieve this, existing tools to combat rule of law regression in the EU must be critically evaluated and concrete recommendations for future action formulated. This includes not only taking stock of the instruments developed so far, but also identifying the political preconditions for their effectiveness in a new reality.

To address these challenges, IEP, in cooperation with the EU Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Brussels, is preparing a mapping of the EU's rule of law toolbox to explore its technical, legal, and political implementation. In the form of a policy brief, the IEP will not only systematise the existing toolkit and examine the political circumstances of its application but assess its efficiency and propose ideas for its improvement beyond the current framework.



Duration: 01 January 2023 – 31 July 2023
Image copyright: Geralt / Pixabay