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The European Commission published its fourth annual Rule of Law report 2023. The Report sets out key elements of the rule of law developments in the European Union and presents Member State-specific assessments in 27 country chapters. The report covers four pillars: national justice systems, anti-corruption frameworks, media pluralism and other institutional checks-and balances. There is a general report, country chapters with a more detailed analysis for each Member State and as of this year the report also includes specific recommendations to all Member States. 

In the key findings the European Commission highlighted the following developments in the Justice Systems:
Many Member States have continued to carry out reforms related to key elements of their  justice system, such as the procedures for appointment and dismissal of judges or as regards  Councils for the Judiciary. It is important that such reforms safeguard judicial independence, based on the principles established by the CJEU. 
Where Councils for the Judiciary are established, they act as an important safeguard for judicial independence, as recognised in the case-law of the CJEU. They can act as a buffer between the judiciary and the other branches of power in matters such as the appointment and career of judges or magistrates, and in the management of the justice system <...>. Councils for the Judiciary also need adequate resources to function in an effective way and fulfil their mandates, and they must be able to manage their budget independently.
An efficient justice system manages its caseload and backlog of cases and delivers its decisions  without undue delay. Excessively long proceedings and substantial backlogs undermine the  trust citizens and businesses place in national justice systems. For the justice system to work properly, adequate resources, including the necessary investments in physical and technical  infrastructure, and well qualified, trained and adequately paid staff, are indispensable. One method of ensuring the long-term resilience of the justice system is to ensure the attractiveness of judicial professions, including through adequate remuneration, and to minimise the number of vacancies open for judges, prosecutors and court staff. Following the 2022 report recommendations, positive steps have been taken in several Member States.  


On 13 July 2022, the Commission published the third annual Rule of Law Report. The report includes an overview of the trends in the EU as a whole and 27 country chapters looking at developments in every Member State since July 2021. This year's report for the first time contains specific recommendations addressed to each Member State. The recommendations are intended to encourage Member States to take forward ongoing or planned reforms and help them identify where improvements are needed.

As with previous editions, this report examines developments in four key areas for the rule of law: justice systems, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and freedom, and other institutional issues linked to checks and balances. The report shows that rule of law reforms have continued to take place in many Member States to address challenges identified in the previous two editions. At the same time, systemic concerns remain in some Member States.


On 20 July 2021, the European Commission published its 2021 Rule of Law report - an annual assessment of both positive and negative significant developments concerning the Rule of Law in EU Member States, covering areas including the fight against corruption, the independence of the judiciary and media freedom.

In the key findings the European Commission highlighted the following developments in the Justice Systems:

“Almost all Member States are undertaking reforms related to their justice systems, albeit with variations in scope, form and progress. In a number of Member States, steps have been or are being taken to strengthen judicial independence through reforms related to Judicial Councils, the appointment of judges, and the independence and autonomy of the prosecution services, for example. However, a few Member States have continued to carry out reforms that lower their safeguards for judicial independence, raising concerns or aggravating the existing ones related to increased influence of the executive and legislative branch over the functioning of their justice system. Moreover, in some Member States, political attacks and repeated attempts undermining judges or judicial institutions are further challenging judicial independence. Since the adoption of the 2020 report, the Court of Justice of the EU has reaffirmed the importance of effective judicial protection for upholding the rule of law. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has given a new sense of the urgency to modernise justice systems and highlighted the potential of digitalisation”.

For a full overview of all documents and data go to the European Commission website. 


On 30 September 2020, the European Commission adopted the 2020 Rule of Law Report. The Report sets out key elements of the rule of law developments in the European Union and presents Member State-specific assessments in 27 country chapters. It is at the centre of the new European rule of law mechanism, designed as a yearly cycle to prevent rule of law problems from emerging or deepening.

The aim of the new Rule of Law Report is to enlarge the existing EU toolbox with a new preventive tool and kick-start an inclusive debate and rule of law culture across the EU. It should help all Member States examine how challenges can be addressed, how they can learn from each other's experiences, and show how the rule of law can be further strengthened in full respect of national constitutional systems and traditions.

You can find the Report and all relevant material related to the Report available on this website.