The European Commission “should be mindful of deliberate attempts to deceive” its Annual Rule of Law Report by those “engaged in the systemic dismantlement of checks and balances and their proxies,” our Senior Research Fellow Laurent Pech and Research Affiliate Petra Bard write in their study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs.
The study offers a comprehensive and critical assessment of the European Commission’s Annual Rule of Law Report. It does so in a broad and holistic manner by assessing this new monitoring tool in light of the EU’s Article 2 TEU monitoring and enforcement architecture. Multiple recommendations are offered in order to remedy the serious gaps and weaknesses identified in this study: “the creation of false expectations; the use of euphemistic language; the lack of context and connected failure to see the wood for the trees; the denial of (autocratic) reality and resulting category errors; the emphasis on “dialogue no matter what”; and finally, the opportunity costs and possible displacement effect the ARoLR has had on enforcement.”
“Rule of law backsliding represents a major, existential challenge for the EU as it structurally endangers the foundations of the EU as a Union based on the rule of law and fundamentally threatens the functioning of the EU’s interconnected legal order,” the authors write, adding that the recommendations “aim to remedy the ARoLR’s identified gaps and shortcomings in the short to medium term. On the long term, it is recommended that renewed consideration is given to (i) the extension of the ARoLR’s scope so that all Article 2 TEU values are subject to annual monitoring given that these values must be viewed as interconnected, interdependent and mutually reinforcing; (ii) the extensive involvement of an expert panel and (iii) the adoption of automatic legal and/or financial actions when country specific recommendations (which the third edition of the ARoLR is expected to contain for the first time) are not fully and promptly The Commission's Rule of Law Report and the EU Monitoring and Enforcement of Article 2 TEU Values PE 727.551 13 addressed.”
Read the full study here.