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  • Author: Eric Maurice
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: For half a decade, the Polish government has been reshaping the country's judicial system in a process described by the European Union as a "threat to the rule of law". Despite numerous Council of Europe reports and resolutions, several infringement proceedings and decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), and the unprecedented activation of the so-called Article 7 procedure of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the transformation of the judiciary into relays of political power has continued and accelerated since the Law and Justice Party (PiS) won a new term in 2019 and the reelection of President Andrzej Duda in 2020, pushing Poland to the limits of the European legal order.
  • Topic: Government, European Union, Courts, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Luuk Molthof, Nienke van Heukelingen, Giulia Cretti
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Despite the existence of an extensive ‘rule of law toolbox’, the EU has found it difficult to deal with rule of law issues. Many experts attribute the EU’s failure to act to a lack of political will and determination on the part of EU institutions and member states. However, not all actors are lacking in political will (equally). The Netherlands, for instance, has been very concerned about the erosion of the rule of law inside the EU and has been one of the more active member states – along with, for instance, Belgium, Finland, Sweden and Denmark – in trying to address the EU’s rule of law crisis. In this policy brief, we examine three possible avenues available to the Netherlands to strengthen the political will of EU institutions and (like-minded) peers to assertively address this crisis and to increase pressure on backsliding member states to safeguard the rule of law.
  • Topic: European Union, Democracy, Rule of Law, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands
  • Author: Laura Gelhaus, Pavel Havlíček, Stefan Meister
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Supporting the rule of law has been central to the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy since 2009. There has been very limited success in this, however. The EU’s core problem is what is usually its strength: addressing a highly politicized area through a technical approach. EU policymakers need to acknowledge that their political silence is permitting ruling elites in EaP countries to block progress in the rule of law and that the EU is failing to call out pervasive systems of informality there.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, European Union, Partnerships, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, United States of America
  • Author: Benjamin Nurkic
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: So far, a legal positivism issue in the process of strengthening the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not recognized by the wider academic community. The expert report on rule of law issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina addresses, for the first time, legal positivism as a part of the process of strengthening the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This paper is an attempt to gather, and in one place present all the advantages offered by the constitutional system of Bosnia and Herzegovina that were not used by its institutions due to the application and implementation of legal positivism. This paper demonstrates misguided reform policies whose sole purpose was the strengthening of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina but turned to be just superficial adjustments that were unsuccessful. The paper argues the necessity of legal education reform as the key element in the process of strengthening the rule of law. Legal education reform is possible through the reduction of legal positivism impact on future lawyers, and this will be accomplished by the change in the paradigm of legal understanding among future lawyers who will make important decisions on the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two strategic objectives must be met in terms of legal education reform for the strengthening of the rule of law: the development of a critical stance towards legal provisions in force and training in the use of international instruments during the decision-making process.
  • Topic: Law, Reform, Constitution, Rule of Law, Legal Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Etleva Paplekaj
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: The review of the constitution emanates from the constitution, from the institute of constitutional review of which the latter is closely related to the dynamic processes in society as well as with the demand for sustainable stability, stability which very well it may be economic, political or social, national or international, the stability that affects even the constitutional order itself in a state. In this article, we will address the constitutional changes, the amendments over the years In Turkey and Russia which are 'proof' of the violation of the constitutional order, 'proof' of the impinging of democracy and stability in the country. Through this article, we will see that the constitutional system, rule of law, democracy or its consolidation, the stability in the country to a large extent are influenced by the way it is conducted the constitutional review process. The application or non-application of this instrument has multi-dimensional effects, negative, destabilizing ones.
  • Topic: Reform, Democracy, Constitution, Political stability, Rule of Law, Institutionalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Saila Heinikoski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Finnish EU policy line has traditionally been adaptable and compromise-seeking, but recent examples related to the rule-bending of EU law reveal some new tendencies. Finland has stood out from the European mainstream in several cases that relate to the rule-bending of EU law in three different ways: rule-bending by others, collective rule-bending, and its own rule-bending. First, intervening in rule-bending by others has found support in Finnish EU policy. Finland prioritized the rule of law in its 2019 Council presidency, as well as in the Government Report on EU policy published on 28 January 2021. Second, alleged collective rule-bending seems to be linked to the threat of federalism. In negotiations on the recovery and resilience facility in 2020, there was a wide domestic debate on whether the result was consistent with the traditional interpretation of EU treaties. Third, Finland’s own rule-bending of the Schengen Border Code’s six-month limit for internal border controls during the Covid-19 crisis seems to have been quietly accepted, with the Interior Minister acknowledging the existence of an “illegal state of affairs”.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Rule of Law, Regionalism, Federalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Chris Raggett
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: European governments have failed to prevent corrupt actors from laundering hundreds of billions of dollars through the international financial system and their own economies. This breakdown in the rule of law empowers kleptocratic regimes across the globe, which capitalise on the political culture underpinning Europe’s approach to globalisation. Western governments create a negative feedback loop that hinders their foreign policy initiatives when they treat corruption in other countries as an inherent part of the local culture. European policymakers should aim to catch up with, and overtake, their US counterparts on anti-money laundering regulation and enforcement. European countries should create national institutions – and an international coalition of Western states – that are dedicated to countering kleptocrats.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Corruption, European Union, Rule of Law, Financial Crimes, Impunity
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Katerina Davidova, Vít Havelka, Jana Juzová, Christian Kvorning Lassen, Danielle Piatkiewicz, Zuzana Stuchlíková
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Experts from EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy comment on the State of the Union address (SOTEU) given by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on 16 September 2020. Topics of the commentaries: Christian Kvorning Lassen: General Impressions – A Visionary Speech Challenged by Political Reality; Christian Kvorning Lassen: A Stronger European Health Union is Needed; Christian Kvorning Lassen: Migration – Ambitious rhetoric, dubious feasibility; Danielle Piatkiewicz: Multilateralism: Europe’s Call to Global Action – Taking the Lead; Kateřina Davidová: EU’s climate momentum not quashed by the pandemic as new target is presented; Jana Juzová: European Neighbourhoods – Vague Reassurances, Economy First; Zuzana Stuchlíková: Next Generation EU, Rule of Law and Conference on the Future of Europe; Vít Havelka: The EU and the UK fights over blame for Brexit fiasco
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Migration, European Union, Multilateralism, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christopher Hartwell, Kateryna Karunska, Krzysztof Głowacki, Maria Krell
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The rule of law, by securing civil and economic rights, directly contributes to social prosperity and is one of our societies’ greatest achievements. In the European Union (EU), the rule of law is enshrined in the Treaties of its founding and is recognised not just as a necessary condition of a liberal democratic society, but also as an important requirement for a stable, effective, and sustainable market economy. In fact, it was the stability and equality of opportunity provided by the rule of law that enabled the post-war Wirtschaftswunder in Germany and the post-Communist resuscitation of the economy in Poland. But the rule of law is a living concept that is constantly evolving – both in its formal, de jure dimension, embodied in legislation, and its de facto dimension, or its reception by society. In Poland, in particular, according to the EU, the rule of law has been heavily challenged by government since 2015 and has evolved amid continued pressure exerted on the institutions which execute laws. More recently, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the perception of the rule of law and its boundaries throughout the EU and beyond (Marzocchi, 2020). Against this background, this study examines the rule of law as a determinant of economic development in Germany and Poland from both the de jure and de facto perspectives.
  • Topic: Economic Growth, Rule of Law, Trade, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Germany
  • Author: Greg Delawie
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is the most pro-American country in the world. From 2012 to 2013, it was also the world’s per-capita biggest source of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) in Syria. It would seem those two statements could not possibly both be true, but they are. This is the story of how the professional diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, aided by experts from the United States, played a major role in helping the new country bring the FTF problem under control for our mutual benefit. Between 2012 (when the Syrian civil war started) and 2016, more than 300 Kosovo citizens went to fight with al-Nusra, or ISIS. U.N. Development Program analysts who interviewed FTFs identified two categories of reasons for this phenomenon: “push factors” and “pull factors.” Among the push factors were Kosovo’s poverty, weak rule of law (enabling porous borders), corruption and high unemployment, especially among the young (60%, compared to 30% overall, in a population with 50% age 25 or younger). The pull factors were more complicated: After the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, “humanitarian” NGOs from the Middle East came to build mosques and provide aid, also importing Wahabi-style Islam, which is very different from Kosovo’s Hanafi Islamic tradition. Some Kosovo imams trained in Middle Eastern religious schools came back with a more radical Islam. ISIS recruiters proclaimed a religious duty for Kosovars to help Syrian Muslims threatened by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Radical imams operating outside the Kosovo Islamic community recruited young men, often offering computer or English classes as bait.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Milan Nič, Roderick Parkes, Siawomir Sierakowski, Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Hungary and Poland are threatening to veto the EU’s new budgetary arrangements if other governments apply the rule of law mechanism to them. It is becoming clear, however, that the new EU financial framework, and the much-heralded recovery fund, are more vital to Eastern Europe than to Europe’s South and that time is not on the side of the former. Awareness of this fact allows for a cool assessment of the pair’s bargaining positions – and of the precedent that any hasty resolution to the crisis will set.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, European Union, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Konstantinos J. Hazakis
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Safeguarding access to international markets requires an effective EU international trade policy. Equally important, preserving an open, rules-based world trading system presupposes strong EU capability as well as consensus of EU states on the scope and targets of EU international trade policy. The paper presents a policy oriented analytical framework of EU international trade policy taking into consideration the impact of disintegration dynamics and emerging trade protectionism. Initially, the analysis sets the problem while section two offers the major tenets of the politicization of EU international trade policy. Section three presents the key arguments of the institutional analysis on the issue while section four analyses the content of an alternative policy framework for understanding disintegration - EU trade policy interaction. Section five concludes and reaches useful policy implications. It is suggested that there is a need for more Europe on international trade meaning enhanced, effective and inclusive EU trade institutional action.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, European Union, Global Markets, Rule of Law, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Camille Dobler
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: With ongoing discussions on rule of law conditionality, and with the European Commission first Annual Rule of Law Report due soon, the focus on the rule of law is back at the top of the EU political agenda this autumn. As eyes turn to the latest political developments and threats to core EU principles and values in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), this policy brief suggests switching from a top-to-top perspective to a societal approach to uphold the rule of law. This would go beyond recommendations to cleanse the rule of law toolbox from inefficient political instruments, and strengthen legal ones. In addition to introducing conditionality, this brief advocates for more active support of local civil societies in exercising their democratic prerogatives over electoral and representative democracy.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Cooperation, International Law, European Union, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christopher Datta
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: To win the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan did something for which he is never credited: he dramatically increased the budget of the United States Information Agency, the public diplomacy arm of our struggle against communism. Senegal, in September of 1999, was about to hold a presidential election. Because of USIA's long history of promoting journalism in Senegal, the embassy decided to work in partnership with the local Print, Radio and Television Journalists Federation to hold a series of workshops on the role of journalists in covering elections. USIA was uniquely organized to promote democratic development through the long term support of human rights organizations, journalism, programs that helped build the rule of law, educational programs that encouraged the acceptance of diversity in society and, perhaps most importantly, through partnering with and supporting local opinion leaders to help them promote democratic values that stand in opposition to ideologies hostile to the West.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Elections, Democracy, Rule of Law, Ideology, Networks, Journalism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Soviet Union, West Africa, Syria, Senegal
  • Author: Olena Tregub
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the wake of the Euromaidan protests that toppled the government of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, Ukrainian activists and civil society organizations have pressed hard for anti-corruption reforms and greater openness and transparency in the public sector. Five years later, however, corruption remains a fixture of civic life—and a majority of Ukrainians believe the fight against corruption has been a failure. This new report reviews the changes that have taken place in the anti-corruption movement since the Euromaidan and identifies practical actions the international community can take to support reform efforts in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Governance, Reform, Democracy, Rule of Law, Protests, Accountability, Transparency, Justice
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Tamás Lattmann
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The rule of law holds great importance to the EU, as it also should to its member states and improving its protection has become a focus of new legislative efforts. Will this proposed regulation be useful and effective tool added to EU’s legislation or will it do the opposite and hurt the member state governments? The author focuses on already existing procedures and their deficiencies and compares them to the current proposal while also shedding light on the background of the new legislation. The reflection addresses some of the questions that may be raised related to EU law, member state sovereignty and its possible effects. The regulation still has a long way to go to become a law and in or order for that to happen it needs to be accepted by the Council. The author lists potential scenarios that could occur in the process of the law’s adoption and explains the legislative procedures.
  • Topic: Rule of Law, Tax Systems, European Parliament
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Siddi, Barbara Gaweda
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Poland’s incumbent party Law and Justice seems poised to win the election thanks to its welfare policies and the weakness of the opposition. However, its attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the media could further erode the rule of law and exacerbate disputes with the EU.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, European Union, Populism, Conservatism, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: György Fóris
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The rule of law issue is not going anywhere anytime soon. The Polish and Hungarian governments will likely remain in power for years. Czech, Croat and some Romanian leaders seem impressed and ready to follow the paths Kaczyński and Orbán have paved. And Italy might not have seen the last of Matteo Salvini. Member states that increasingly question, ignore, or even attack previously agreed-upon policies, political priorities or common principles are becoming a regular occurrence within the Union, one that the new Commission will have to deal with. In this Discussion Paper, György Fóris finds that in an increasingly politicised Union, the design of the current rule of law mechanism is lacking. He argues it cannot function effectively on legal grounds alone as long as the existing Treaty foundations remain ambiguous and the final decision is taken at the political level, where it is the Council and not the Commission that is the decisive player. So the von der Leyen Commission will face a difficult choice: either try to live with all of the formal members of the Union, listening to and mediating between them, while continuing to defend the rules and values that were entrusted to it as the Guardian of the Treaty and thus preserve the EU’s unity. Or, take sides and lead an open political fight against those who seem to weaken the previously agreed interpretation of fundamental European rules and principles. Fóris, however, offers a third option: While not giving up on unity, likeminded and willing EU countries could intensify their level of cooperation, while formally retaining all parties within the framework of a larger (and looser) Community.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic
  • Author: Marta Makowska, Melchior Szczepanik
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the draft multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021-2027, the European Commission (EC) proposed a political conditionality mechanism through which EU funds could be suspended for countries violating the rule of law. If implemented, it would grant the EC new powers to control the condition of the rule of law in Member States, but it is based on imprecise criteria. Even though the EC has declared that the mechanism is designed to discipline state institutions responsible for breaches, it could be damaging mainly to the final beneficiaries of the funds.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Budget, European Union, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Floris Tan
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This article examines an underexplored avenue for the protection of the rule of law in Europe: Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This provision prohibits States from restricting the rights enshrined in the European Convention for any other purpose than provided for in the Convention. In this contribution, the author argues, based on a combination of textual, systematic and purposive interpretations of Article 18, that the provision is meant to safeguard against rule of law backsliding, in particular because governmental restrictions of human rights under false pretenses present a clear danger to the principles of legality and the supremacy of law. Such limitations of rights under the guise of legitimate purposes go against the assumption of good faith underlying the Convention, which presupposes that all States share a common goal of reinforcing human rights and the rule of law. Article 18 could therefore function as an early warning that European States are at risk of becoming an illiberal democracy or even of reverting to totalitarianism and the destruction of the rule of law. The article then goes on to assess the extent to which the European Court’s case-law reflects and realizes this aim of rule of law protection, and finds that whereas the Court’s earlier case-law left very little room for an effective application of Article 18, the November 2017 Grand Chamber judgment in Merabishvili v. Georgia has made large strides in effectuating the provision’s raison d’être. As the article shows, however, even under this new interpretation, challenges remain.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe