Brussels, Oct 1 : The European Union (EU) has released the 2020 Rule of Law report which presents an overview of the judiciary, media freedoms, corruption and checks and balances in the bloc’s member states.
Released on Wednesday, the report covers “four pillars”: the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and other institutional issues related to checks and balances.
The country chapters rely on a qualitative assessment carried out by the European Commission and focus on a synthesis of significant developments since January 2019 introduced by a brief factual description of the legal and institutional framework relevant for each pillar.
The assessment presents both challenges and positive aspects, including good practices.
“The Commission has ensured a coherent and equivalent approach by applying the same methodology and examining the same topics in all member states, while remaining proportionate to the situation and developments,” the report said.
To prepare the report, the European Commission invited stakeholders to provide written contributions through a targeted consultation from March 24 to May 4.
Meanwhile, the review highlighted shortcomings in various member states, and particularly criticised Poland, calling judicial independence there a “serious concern”, the EU Oserver said in a report.
It also condemned Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Slovakia for insufficiently ensuring courts’ independence.
The commission also pointed to corruption scandals and deficiencies in anti-corruption efforts in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Malta.
In a statement, EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said the report would serve as a preventive mechanism, to detect rule of law issues early on.