EU Report on the Rule of Law

eu report on the rule of law The independence and the quality of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and freedom of the press are analyzed in the second anual report of the EC on the rule of law in the European Union

The European Commission released a report on the rule of law in the EU member states on Tuesday. The independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press or the fight against corruption are scrutinized in this annual report, which has reached its second edition. The report contains specific remarks for most of the 27 members of the European Union, but systemic issues concern mainly Hungary and Poland, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders has stated.

The two countries, which are criticized with regard to  the  independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press, are joined by Slovenia, which has also been singled out for the deterioration of media freedom. In fact, the situation of the press is a major concern, as many states of the Union report "an increase in violence towards journalists", said the Vice President of the European Commission, Vera Jourova.

As regards Romania, the report refers, for the most part, to the reforms of the Judiciary. It is noted that steps are being taken to review the changes - severely criticized - brought to the legislation in the period 2017-2019 and concerns are raised about the existence of the Special Section for the investigation of crimes committed by magistrates.  The initiative to abolish this Section must follow the line of European law, the Commission says. Recalling a decision by the Romanian Constitutional Court, which has recently  ruled that the national fundamental law is hierarchically superior when judges must refer to European law, the European Commission says that it's quite the opposite; this calls into question the principle of the supremacy of EU legislation. According to Vera Jourova, European legislation takes precedence over national ones and all the rulings of the European Court of Justice are binding on the authorities and courts in the member countries.

The Commission's report also notes, among other things, that the shortage of staff remains worrying in the Romanian judiciary. In December 2020, almost 10% of the posts of judge and almost 16% of prosecutor were vacant, which has an impact on the efficiency of the system. Then, although the 2018 provision allowing for the early retirement of magistrates with 20 years of seniority was repealed by Parliament in March this year, nearly 300 magistrates retired in 2020 and almost 250 in the first quarter of this year, amplifying even more the shortage of staff.

On the subject of 'corruption', the Commission notes that the perception among experts and business leaders is that the level of this scourge in the public sector remains high, but - the EU executive says - investigations and sanctions for corruption at medium and high level have remained effective. Finally, the European Commission states that defamation lawsuits against investigative journalists continue to be reported in Romania. (MI)
Publicat: 2021-07-21 14:02:00
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