DEMAS signed the Joint statement on the European Commission’s 2024 Rule of Law Report

The undersigned 38 civil society, human rights, journalist and media support organisations call on the European Commission to strengthen the effectiveness of the rule of law dialogue, improve the impact of reporting and take decisive action against systematic human rights violations in the EU Member States.

In July 2024, the European Commission will publish its fifth annual rule of law report, the last one during its current term of office. While there have been some improvements in the reporting process, such as the publication of the calendar of country visits, many horizontal issues on both process and content that were highlighted in previous joint civil society statements remain unaddressed. These include the persistent problems in the Commission’s systematic and transparent cooperation with civil society organisations throughout the reporting cycle, the lack of specificity of recommendations, the failure of Member States to implement court decisions and the restrictions on media freedom and freedom of expression, association and assembly. At a time when the rule of law is increasingly being called into question across Europe, it is more necessary than ever for the rule of law report to be critical, specific and linked to enforcement tools. Following the European elections from 6 to 9 June 2024, the new President of the European Commission should demonstrate their commitment to and vision for the rule of law by giving the new Commissioner an ambitious mandate to further develop and strengthen the rule of law report and mechanism to become more transparent, participatory and effective. The following recommendations are divided into recommendations for the next European Commission (1-3), and recommendations to increase the effectiveness of rule of law reporting (4-8).

Our main recommendations to the Commission are:

1. Strengthen the rule of law as a key priority in the next Commission programme
2. A strong mandate for the new Commissioner for Justice
3. Better self-assessment of the rule of law effectiveness
4. Continue the annual rule of law reports and make them more contextual and detailed
5. Address continuing concerns about civic space
6. Take firm and systematic action against the non-implementation of court decisions
7. Protect freedom of expression and information and media freedom
8. Improve the visibility and awareness of the rule of law report

Please find the full version here.