Safeguarding the rule of law in the EU

The challenges the EU is facing

The problems that Europe are facing are complex. To overcome them, the EU needs confidence in the value of European unity, cooperation and solidarity. And it needs legislation that puts the democratic basis of that cooperation – the rule of law – above all else. However, the combination of major global challenges and the continuing lack of confidence in politics to deal with these problems is eroding the support for the European Union. Not only among citizens, but also in national parliaments, among civil servants and politicians, it is no longer  obvious that the fundamental legal principles of the rule of law and civil rights are the basis for shaping Europe.

Under these circumstances, the Meijers Committee sees a number of challenges ahead. Our mission is to safeguard European legislation that does justice to the principles of the rule of law and guarantees fundamental human rights for all who reside in Europe. We are committed to making lawyers, civil servants and politicians aware of the need to guard the rule of law and human rights in European legislation. Our goal is to identify deficiencies and to draw the attention of legislators and supervisors (in Brussels and at the level of the national states) to the legal deficiencies and risks involved. Furthermore, the Meijers Committee supports other critical proponents of the democratic system, such as journalists and fundamental rights NGOs, through evidence-based legal analyses.

The rule of law and EU agencies

In the coming years, the Meijers Committee sees particular risks in the establishment of new EU agencies in changes to the competences or structure of existing agencies. A reason for concern is, for example, the lack of clarity in the control of the exercise of powers by these agencies and the legal position of citizens vis-à-vis these institutions. Many improvements to the legal structure of these institutions are needed to ensure their accountability and transparency.

In addition, the Meijers Committee is worried by the EU’s insufficient reaction to developments that affect the rule of law, for example in Poland or Hungary. One current example is the attacks on the independence of the judiciary in Poland. Although the EU has various means at its disposal to take legal action against this, their use is limited. Where they are used, they appear to be ineffective. The gradual dismantling of fundamental achievements that can be seen in some Member States in relation to the rule of law situation is a cause of great concern to the Meijers Committee.

Our new project: Safeguarding the Rule of Law in the European Union

It is of great importance to actively monitor the activities of the European Union at this very moment. For these reasons, the Meijers Committee will work on two important issues where the European rule of law and the fundamental rights of EU citizens are at risk: EU agencies and the Rule of Law. The Meijers Committee will critically comment on these subjects and continuously bring them to the attention of (European and national) parliamentarians, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.

To inform about our activities within our new project Safeguarding the rule of law in the European Union, we made a new website dediceated to our new project (euruleoflaw.eu). On this website, you will find:

  • more information about our project,

  • about the team behind our project Safeguarding the Rule of Law in the European Union,

  • an overview of our published comments concerning the rule of law in the EU and EU agencies,

  • a rule of law dashboard which will provide an overview of all rule of law-related cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights [still to come],

  • a blog section that will keep you updated about all news concerning the rule of law and EU agencies,

  • and a section about all our upcoming and past events!