Upholding the rule of law – Ursola von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission
A Europe that protects must also stand up for justice and for values. Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to the respect of the rule of law. Our European Union is a Community of Law. This community is the foundation of everything we have achieved and everything we still have to do. This is Europe’s hallmark. And it is central to my vision for a Union of equality, tolerance and social fairness.
There can be no compromise when it comes to defending our core values. Threats to the rule of law challenge the legal, political and economic basis of how our Union works. Ensuring the respect of the rule of law is a primary responsibility of each Member State. However, as the Court of Justice has recently confirmed, we have a common interest in resolving problems. Strengthening the rule of law is a shared responsibility for all EU institutions and all Member States.
I will ensure that we use our full toolbox at European level. And I support an additional comprehensive European Rule of Law Mechanism, with an EU-wide scope and objective annual reporting by the European Commission. The monitoring approach will be the same in every Member State. There can be no compromise when it comes to defending our core values. Threats to the rule of law challenge the legal, political and economic basis of how our Union works. The Commission’s monitoring will be done in close dialogue with national authorities on the basis of law, notably the recent case law set down by our independent Court of Justice. I will also ensure a greater role for the European Parliament in this rule-of-law mechanism.
The new way forward brings transparency, allows early detection and offers targeted support to resolve any issues at an early stage. Our objective is to find a solution that protects the rule of law, with cooperation and mutual support, but without ruling out an effective, proportionate and dissuasive response as a last resort. I intend to focus on tighter enforcement, using recent judgements of the Court of Justice showing the impact of rule-of-law breaches on EU law as a basis. I stand by the proposal to make the rule of law an integral part of the next Multiannual Financial Framework. This is about strengthening trust and confidence between us, which is as good for our internal market as it is for our internal unity. The Commission will always be an independent guardian of the Treaties. Lady Justice is blind – she will defend the rule of law wherever and by whomever it is attacked.