The Mission: To bolster the rule of law


Johanna Lutz

+43 (0) 1 890 3811 301


What is the challenge?

  • In some countries, the rule of law as laid down in the Copenhagen Criteria is being eroded by autocratic governments.
  • Many citizens feel the EU law-making process is too complicated, distant, and disempowering, which breeds distrust and resentment.
  • Media plurality is threatened by decreasing revenue, illiberal governments and powerful private actors. Moreover, journalists are being silenced by
    physical threats or SLAPPs.
  • EU ombudsmen lack the necessary powers to ensure national governments do not deny their citizens the protection and benefits of EU law.
  • Only wealthy plaintiffs can afford to bring a case before the European Court of Justice.
  • Access to legal aid is inconsistent.
  • It is not always easy for EU citizens to know their rights.

    What is the solution?

    This mission aims to ensure that the rule of law in the EU is upheld by:

    1. Adding a Citizenship & Democracy Report to the existing Rule of Law Report and establishing a Commission with real power to sanction breaches of the Copenhagen Criteria.  
    2. Establishing and empowering citizens’ panels to involve citizens in the EU’s law-making process.
    3. Democratising media companies by widening the pool of board members, ensuring media ownership is transparent, and making The Media Freedom Act an EU directive. In addition, by introducing a system of vouchers distributed to citizens to be used to fund their preferred media outlets, effectively decoupling state subsidy from state control of the media.
    4. Treating threats against journalists as aggravated crimes - incurring stiffer penalties - and capping the costs of defence against SLAPPs.
    5. Ensuring all citizens have equal access to justice through ‘Citizens’ Advocates’ in each EU member state; as well as by rolling out ‘Law Clinics’ to help labour and social law claims, by contributing to fundamental rights lawsuits brought by Civil Society Organisations, and by developing a legal aid website dedicated to the question: ‘What are my rights?’

    How would this mission benefit Europeans?

    • All Europeans would be able to rely on the proper functioning of state institutions and control bodies while having their fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed.
    • They would have equal access to justice and to independent media that would allow Europeans to have free formation of opinion. Consequently, the EU would be better able to fulfil the promise of freedom, equality and security it has made to its citizens.

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