How to Monitor the Rule of Law, Democracy, and Fundamental Rights in the EU

There is a risk that no concrete steps will emerge from consultations and discussions in the European Commission and Council on how to protect the EU’s fundamental values within its member states. The European Commission could take two initiatives to improve compliance with fundamental rights, democracy, and the rule of law by its member states. Namely, to reintroduce country-monitoring and develop a fundamental rights litigation strategy.

These measures would not require the introduction of new legislation or amendment of the EU treaties. Rather, they could be put into effect within a short timeframe through informal changes in internal policy by the institutions and inter-institutional agreements.

This policy brief explores the legal and practical feasibility of these two initiatives with the goal of informing EU member state diplomats and Commission officials during their ongoing discussions on how best to protect fundamental rights in Europe.