Policy Paper: How to Improve the EU’s Rule of Law Toolbox?

Read our new policy paper with concrete recommendations on how to improve the EU’s rule of law toolbox.

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Mapping of the EU's rule of law toolbox

While rule of law breaches continue to increase in the EU, the existing instruments to combat these have proven not sufficient enough to curb democratic backsliding. To identify complementary approaches and recommend new courses of action, we have partnered up with the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP).

Maria Skóra, research associate at the IEP, evaluated the EU’s instruments to safeguard democracy and the rule of law in the EU member states. In our new policy paper, we provide a mapping of the EU's rule of law toolbox and explore its technical, legal and political implementation. Furthermore, we propose new ways on how to improve the implementation of the existing tools to make them more efficient and effective.

The effectiveness of individual rule of law tools as well as their combined impact must be improved, in both technical as well as political terms. Fixing rule of law erosion also requires tackling the more general democratic backsliding. To maintain a functioning democratic order, the rule of law must be sustained by both a robust institutional response and political accountability. To combat rule of law breaches in the EU, there must be consequences severe enough to discourage governments from undermining the democratic order. From the point of view of technical and legal implementation criteria, building more complementary synergies between single rule of law instruments can improve both their effectiveness and efficiency.

To maximise the potential of the EU’s rule of law toolbox, more attention is needed when it comes to monitoring its effectiveness. Constant re-evaluation will allow for a more accurate application of rule of law tools in the future, including tracing their synergies and favourable policy mixes.

Learn more about our policy recommendations on how to improve the EU’s rule of law toolbox by reading the policy paper in German here and in English here:

How to improve the EU's rule of law toolbox

Skóra, Maria

How to improve the EU's rule of law toolbox

Brussels, 2023

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