Thursday

14th Dec 2017

EU keen to rank justice systems in member states

  • "Today, everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country?" Reding said (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU justice commissioner Vivane Reding announced on Wednesday (12 September) a "justice scoreboard" to rank rule of law in the EU.

"I am prepared to come once a year before this house to share with all of you the commission's assessment of the justice systems of the 27 member states," she told MEPs in Strasbourg.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The scoreboard would gauge the various strengths and weaknesses of each member state by benchmarking judicial "strength, efficiency and reliability."

People from Reding's department would probe the national set-ups and issue annual reports, paying particular attention to the independence of the judiciary.

Her proposal is prompted by claims of the deteriorating rule of law and justice in both Hungary and Romania.

Earlier this year, Budapest drafted changes to its constitution to weaken its central bank, restrict media freedom and help install government-friendly judges. The commission responded by launching infringement proceedings and claimed Hungary's move violated EU rules.

Romania also came under scrutiny.

The political infighting between Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Basescu drew the commission's ire.

Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso warned Ponta not to usurp the independence of the country's constitutional court in his attempts to impeach the deeply unpopular Basescu.

Ponta at first backed off, but then began piling on pressure following a failed referendum to unseat Basescu. The issue once again reached Brussels when on 10 August Barroso told Ponta to respect the court and to investigate allegations that judges were being intimidated.

The bickering was already the centre of a Brussels-executive annual report issued in July, which claimed that Bucharest was not doing enough to improve the rule of law and judicial independence.

An additional Romania report is due out before the end of the year.

Reding now wants to extend such annual reports to the rest of Europe and claims to have the backing of several member state ministries, including Germany's foreign minister.

"We need such a new mechanism. Because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react in situations of high risk to the rule of law," she said.

The commissioner noted that some member states, once they join the Union, fall behind in their obligations to uphold the law.

Rebecca Harms, the British co-leader of the Green MEPs, backed Reding and told the Strasbourg plenary the commission should report on every member state's justice system.

"It is a very good that the commission now is taking a closer look at what is happening in Romania and I think it would be very good if we were to have this sort of tool available for all member states in the EU," said Harms.

Reding's spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told this website the proposal would be introduced in the commission's annual growth survey before the end of the year.

The annual growth survey marks the beginning of a 'European semester' and contains recommendations for future policy initiatives.

EU commission starts legal action against Hungary

The European Commission has launched legal action against Hungary over its new constitution, amid fears that its right-wing leader has too much control of judges and the central bank.

Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership

Bucharest expects other member states to decide on its accession to the passport-free area before it takes the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2019 - amid criticism of a controversial new justice reform.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  2. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  3. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  4. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU
  5. British PM limps to EU capital after Brexit defeat
  6. US pleads for clarity on Brexit aviation 'black hole'
  7. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  8. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short