On 20 July 2021, the European Commission published its 2021 Rule of Law report - an annual assessment of both positive and negative significant developments concerning the Rule of Law in EU Member States, covering areas including the fight against corruption, the independence of the judiciary and media freedom.
Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said: “The Rule of Law Report is a useful preventive tool that has stimulated needed debate among the Member States and other actors. The second edition shows that Member States can make progress to address rule of law matters. Yet this has been uneven and there are causes for serious concern in a number of Member States, especially when it comes to the independence of judiciary (…)”.
In the key findings the European Commission highlighted the following developments in the Justice Systems:
“Almost all Member States are undertaking reforms related to their justice systems, albeit with variations in scope, form and progress. In a number of Member States, steps have been or are being taken to strengthen judicial independence through reforms related to Judicial Councils, the appointment of judges, and the independence and autonomy of the prosecution services, for example. However, a few Member States have continued to carry out reforms that lower their safeguards for judicial independence, raising concerns or aggravating the existing ones related to increased influence of the executive and legislative branch over the functioning of their justice system. Moreover, in some Member States, political attacks and repeated attempts undermining judges or judicial institutions are further challenging judicial independence. Since the adoption of the 2020 report, the Court of Justice of the EU has reaffirmed the importance of effective judicial protection for upholding the rule of law. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has given a new sense of the urgency to modernise justice systems and highlighted the potential of digitalisation”.
For a full overview of all documents and data go to the European Commission website.