Further strengthening the rule of law within the Union: State of play and possible next steps

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2019) 163
Publication Date 03/04/2019
Content Type


Communication presented on 3 April 2019 by the European Commission launching a reflection process on the rule of law in the European Union and setting out possible avenues for future action.

Further information:

It is a common responsibility of EU institutions and all Member States to defend, strengthen, and uphold the rule of law in the Union. The Commission has already used a wide range of tools to carefully monitor, assess and respond to rule of law concerns in Member States, including the Rule of Law Framework, Article 7(1) TEU procedure, infringement procedures, as well as the European Semester, the EU Justice Scoreboard or the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).

Building on the experience gathered so far through all these instruments, this Communication outlines three pillars which could contribute to further the effective enforcement of the rule of law in the Union:

  • Better promotion: Rule of law standards and jurisprudence are not always sufficiently known at national level. To address this, increased efforts should be geared towards better promoting knowledge of the rule of law standards and case law at national level. This could be achieved, for instance, through communication activities for the public, common EU approaches that help promote a stronger rule of law culture across institutions and professions, continued engagement with the Council of Europe, and participation of civil society at the regional and local levels.
  • Early prevention: While the prime responsibility to ensure respect for the rule of law at national level lies with the Member States, the EU can offer important support to build resilience of key systems and institutions. Regular cooperation and dialogue could contribute to a deeper understanding of the rule of law situation and developments in Member States and could contribute to the early resolution of any rule of law issues.
  • Tailored response: A diversity of rule of law challenges requires a diversity of effective responses. The Commission will continue to ensure the correct application of the EU law via infringement procedures. Different approaches may also be appropriate in specific policy areas such as the¬†Commission's proposal on the protection of the EU's budget. In addition, some refinement to the existing Rule of Law Framework could be explored, including early information to and support from the European Parliament and the Council, as well as clear timelines for the duration of dialogues.
Source Link https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2019:163:FIN
Related Link(s)
European Commission: Press Release, 03/04/2019: Rule of law: The Commission opens a debate to strengthen the rule of law in the EU http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1912_en.htm

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