Tuesday

31st May 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan

Latest News

  1. EU watchdog calls for fines on shady lobbyists
  2. 2015 was 'a bad year' for EU human rights
  3. Deal with Greece will not work, says Guy Verhofstadt
  4. Greece says it cannot fulfil demands for loans
  5. Juncker agrees to visit Russia in June
  6. Pro-Brexit Tories predict Cameron leadership challenge
  7. Merkel and Hollande pledge unity at Verdun ceremony
  8. Russia mocks ex-Nato chief's new Kiev job