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Civil society groups demand real results from EU Rule of Law reports

The AEJ joined 60 other journalistic and civil society groups in an open letter to top European Commission officials criticising what they call the often “fruitless” impact of the EU’s annual Rule of Law reports covering the 27 member states.

Starting from 2022, the signatories have demanded sweeping reforms to the rule of law mechanism to make it an effective tool with “real power” to protect media freedoms and prevent systemic human rights across the European Union.

In its second and most recent annual report, the EU Commission claimed progress by ‘deepening’ its assessment of member states’ conduct and spoke of progress towards judicial reforms as well as “serious concerns” about the independence of the judiciary in some member states.

But the coalition of civil society groups said the Commission had pulled its punches.
And in many cases signatory organisations said their efforts to monitor and inform the Commission about systemic failings had been “fruitless and in vain” because the Commission had adopted a “very narrow interpretation” of the rule of law.

The groups called for a more open and inclusive public consultation process and robust tackling of issues like state capture of public service media and repression of human rights defenders.

Civil society recommendations