Council Launches Rule of Law Dialogue
On the basis of the Commission’s first Rule of Law Report of 30 September 2020, the General Affairs Council (GAC) launched the annual “Rule of Law Dialogue” at its meeting on 13 October 2020. Following the concept outlined in the Commission’s report, the German Council Presidency introduced a new approach to the annual dialogue (which is has been place since 2014).
Under this new approach, the dialogue will be organised into two different types of political discussions:
- A horizontal discussion covering general rule-of-law developments in the EU;
- Country-specific discussions addressing key developments one by one in each Member State.
At the October meeting, ministers had first horizontal discussions on the general rule-of-law developments, corresponding to the four pillars dealt with in the Commission’s report: justice systems; the anti-corruption framework; media pluralism; and other institutional issues of checks and balances. Country-specific aspects were also discussed at the November GAC meeting. There, the discussion focused on key developments in five EU Member States, following the EU protocol order, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark and Estonia.
Michael Roth, Germany's Minister of State for Europe said: “Rule of law is a core founding value of the EU. Our new dialogue is a further instrument in the EU’s toolkit to strengthen and protect the rule of law. It aims to establish an open and constructive debate on the situation regarding the rule of law in all member states: equal treatment of all member states, non-discrimination and objective criteria are key. Our main goal is to achieve a clear and mutual understanding of what binds us together.”