Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), The European Commission has published its latest rule of law report, taking the pulse of the rule of law situation in each EU Member State.
While Rule of Law concerns remain in some EU Member States, the report has, says the EC, become a “key driver for change and positive reforms.”
In fact, 65% of last year’s recommendations have been, fully or partially, addressed.
An EC spokesman said, “This shows that important efforts are ongoing in Member States to follow up on the previous year’s recommendations.”
Given that reforms to improve the rule of law framework take time, this reflects a significant development over only one year, said the spokesman.
At the same time, systemic concerns remain in some Member States, says the report.
The package includes a communication examining the situation in the EU as a whole and 27 country chapters at significant developments in every Member State since July 2022.
The report includes an assessment of last year’s recommendations and provides again specific recommendations to Member States.
The report covers four pillars: national justice systems, anti-corruption frameworks, media pluralism, and other institutional checks and balances.
The spokesman added, “The Commission now invites the European Parliament and the Council to continue general and country-specific debates on the basis of this report, also using the recommendations to further examine concrete implementation.”
“It also calls on national Parliaments, civil society, and other key stakeholders and actors, to continue national dialogue on the rule of law, as well as at European level, with increased citizen’s engagement.”
The 2023 recommendations either build on last year’s recommendations, where there was no partial implementation or address new challenges.
The challenges identified by the previous Rule of Law Reports have provided inspiration for several recent EU initiatives over the past year, says the EC.
“The rule of law is crucial for every citizen and business in the EU as it is a precondition for the respect of other values, it guarantees that fundamental rights are upheld in line with a set of core democratic values, ensures the application of EU law, and supports an investment-friendly business environment. It is an integral part of the very identity of the European Union,” said the spokesman.