Parliament Adopts Resolution on Commission’s 2020 Rule of Law Report
On 24 June 2021, the European Parliament (EP) adopted its Resolution on the Commission’s 2020 Rule of Law Report. For the report → eucrim 3/2020, 358-359.
MEPs welcomed the Commission’s first annual Rule of Law Report and encouraged its continuation in order to identify risks for fundamental rights and the rule of law in the EU. They expressed their satisfaction that the report contains country-specific chapters and called on the Commission to further engage with national governments and national parliaments as well as with civil society and other national actors. The Commission should further intensify country visits so that broader engagement and dialogue with national authorities and civil society can be achieved.
The Resolution welcomed the fact that all Member States are scrutinised according to the same indicators and methodology but emphasised that the Commission should distinguish between systemic breaches of the rule of law and individual, isolated breaches. In future, a more analytical report should be drafted in order to facilitate country-specific recommendations on how to address the encountered concerns.
Monitoring of the independence, quality, and efficiency of the Member States’ justice systems is generally welcomed; however, parliamentarians expressed concerns regarding the deterioration of the independence of some Member States’ justice systems and the increasing lack of compliance with EU law. They sharply criticised the situation in Poland and Hungary, including the political pressure put on courts to prevent national judges from referring questions to the CJEU about the EU’s judicial independence requirements.
The deterioration of media freedom and media pluralism in some Member States is another issue of concern, and the Resolution notes an increasing amount of physical, psychological, and other forms of aggression towards journalists. The EP calls for a broader scope to be applied in future rule-of-law reports, including the values of democracy and fundamental rights. It also calls for clear, country‑specific recommendations on how to address the concerns identified.