Publication Date: September 2020
Research and Editorial Team: Directorate-General JUST Justice and Consumers

From the introduction:

"This first rule of law report is the foundation stone for a new and dynamic process, involving a continued dialogue with Member States, the European Parliament and national parliaments as well as other stakeholders at national and EU level. The Commission will now start preparing the 2021 rule of law report, drawing on experiences gained in the first year of the functioning of the European Rule of Law Mechanism, and carrying forward the momentum to make the rule of law more resilient in our democracies. Being better equipped will help all Europeans to take up the challenges of the unprecedented economic, climate and health crisis, in full respect for our common principles and values".

It covers four pillars: the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and other institutional issues related to checks and balances. The country chapters rely on a qualitative assessment carried out by the Commission.

The Rule of Law Report is the result of close collaboration with Member States and relies on a variety of sources. For each pillar, the methodology recalls the EU law provisions relevant for the assessment. It also refers to opinions and recommendations from the Council of Europe, which provide useful guidance.

A network of national rule of law contact points has been established to help setting up the mechanism, to discuss its methodology, and to act as an ongoing channel of communication with Member States. The Commission received written input from all Member States and from over 200 stakeholders, and conducted more than 300 virtual meetings with all Member States, stakeholders and civil society.

As part of the preparation of the 2020 Rule of Law Report, the European Commission invited stakeholders to provide written contributions through a targeted stakeholder consultation opened from 24 March to 4 May 2020. The consultation has provided over 200 horizontal and country-specific contributions from a variety of EU agencies, European networks, national and European civil society organisations and professional associations and international and European actors.

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