The rule of law

Start date
June 2019

In recent years, the EU has experienced an escalating rule of law crisis where the values of democracy and political integrity have been seriously undermined in several Member States. Attacks to the rule of law have emerged in the form of high-level corruption and the abuse of power, including worrying attempts to weaken plural and independent media.

The Rule of Law is one of the values on which the EU is founded (Article 2 TEU) and it is essential for fundamental rights and civil liberties to exist. Therefore, when the rule of law is threatened, independent and impartial courts, open and transparent decision-making, accountability laws and mutual trust in the internal market are put in danger.

To prevent these attacks from becoming systemic and expanding to other countries, the EU institutions need to act accordingly to the treaties and protect their citizens and our democratic systems from undue abuses of power.

Making EU spending conditional to the respect of the rule of law is something Transparency International EU (TI EU) has been calling for many years. In the last decade, the EU has seen a rise of corrupt practices involving the use of EU money to finance anti-democratic activities. This is a threat to our values, and therefore should be a red line for all EU institutions.

The EU’s proposed Defence of Democracy package risks worsening the rule of law crisis in some member states by giving them the leeway to unfairly stigmatise civil society. Read our policy position on the proposal here. Or read our assessment of the state of play of lobby transparency across the EU, showing that member state lobby regulation is fundamentally conflictual with the EU’s proposal.


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