Rule of Law backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe remains worrisome. Recently, the Venice Commission expressed serious concerns about ongoing judicial reform in Romania, while the European Commission has locked horns with Poland over Judicial appointments, with the former recently taking measures to protect judges from political influence.
Despite these developments, support for the Rule of Law in Eastern Europe is allegedly on the rise, helped to a great extent by impatience and discontent within the populace at high levels of corruption and politicians who undermine the justice system. In Romania, a referendum was held in May to reject measures that would curb the Rule of Law (it was approved by a wide margin). A former social-democrat politician was sent to prison earlier this year, and in Slovakia, an anticorruption crusader and political outsider was catapulted to the presidency. It remains to be seen what the effect of the upcoming elections in Poland (13 October) and Romania (10 November) on Rule of Law will actually be.
The EU has introduced several measures aimed at strengthening Rule of Law in Eastern Europe, including measures to promote the rule of law culture; prevent rule of law problems; and respond effectively to breaches of the rule of law. As part of this, the Commission will deepen the monitoring of the rule of law (with a proposal for annual reports to be produced), and to continue investing in the EU Justice Scoreboard. It is thought that the incoming Commission President will continue to keep a hard line on Rule of Law in the EU.
The Bingham Centre, in collaboration with the Romanian Center for European Politics (CRPE) and the Faculty of International Economic Relations at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies and the National Bank of Romania will be co-hosting a panel at a conference 'on the Future of Europe'. The panel will consider Rule of Law conditionalities in the EU, including the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and the new monitoring mechanisms in the EU. A short briefing on the panel will be published in follow-up to the event. This event is also co-organised in collaboration with the RECONNECT program , and the support of the National Bank of Romania.
Associate Professor Clara Volintiru, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania
- Adrian Baboi Stroe, Public Policy Expert and former Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice
- Laura Ștefan, Anticorruption expert from the Romanian Expert Forum
- Aleksejs DIMITROVS, EFA Advisor on Legal Affairs, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
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