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  • 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
  • Author: Srđan Cvijić, Stevo Muk
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Politically, Montenegro finds itself in a paradoxical situation. At one level it is the champion of European integration in the Western Balkans when it comes to progress in the EU accession negotiations, but it is also the only country in the region that has not experienced a change of government since the introduction of the multiparty system in 1990. The same individuals, families, and political and business elites have been controlling the country’s politics and economy for more than 25 years. This situation is likely to continue after the recently held October 16 parliamentary elections where the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists managed once again to secure the most seats in parliament but fell short of securing an absolute majority. Key conclusions in this report include: the October elections were marked by numerous irregularities and were held in problematic conditions; the Montenegrin government and European Commission need to focus more on reforms in the area of the rule of law; the EU accession process remains unclear and lacks transparency. The authors present recommendations to the European Commission, European Parliament, and the EU member states for moving forward.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Elections, European Union, Democracy, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Montenegro