Communication and country chapters
The 2022 Rule of Law Report, including its 27 country chapters, examines developments across the Member States, both positive and negative, in four key areas for the rule of law: the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and other institutional issues related to checks and balances. In examining these areas, the Commission has continued deepening its assessment and the following up on the challenges and developments identified in the previous two reports.
The report also covers for the first time some new topics that have emerged as relevant for ensuring the rule of law, such as public service media and an overview of the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The additions of these topics also corresponds to requests by the European Parliament and stakeholders.
The country chapters, which rely on a qualitative assessment carried out by the Commission, analyse new developments since the previous report and the follow-up to the challenges and developments identified in the 2021 edition.
The Report is part of broader EU efforts to promote and defend its values. This work includes the European Democracy Action Plan and the renewed Strategy for the Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as targeted strategies to progress towards a Union of Equality. Another related aspect is monitoring the application of EU law and the protection of fundamental rights under the Charter, including through the use of infringement proceedings.
As of this year, the Report also includes specific recommendations to all Member States. In line with the preventive nature of the Report, the objective of the recommendations is to assist Member States in their efforts to take forward reforms, to encourage positive developments, and to identify where improvements or follow-up to recent changes or reforms may be needed, based on continuous dialogue with them.
The Commission has prepared this report based on continued dialogue with the Member States, while fully preserving political responsibility for its assessment and the recommendations issued. The next edition will follow-up on the developments and assess the implementation of the recommendations.
2022 Rule of law report - Communication and country chapters
The assessment contained in the 27 country chapters has been prepared in line with the methodology as updated in 2022, following discussion with the Member States, also with a view to reflect the inclusion of recommendations in the Report. The country chapters do not purport to give an exhaustive description of all rule of law issues in every Member State, but to present significant developments. The assessment refers to EU law requirements, including those resulting from the case-law of the CJEU. In addition, the recommendations and opinions of the Council of Europe provide a useful frame of reference for relevant standards and best practices.
The Rule of Law Report is the result of close collaboration with Member States and relies on a variety of sources. Member States have been invited to provided written contributions and join in dedicated country visits held between February and April. For these country visits, the Commission organised more than 500 online meetings with national authorities, independent bodies and stakeholders, including civil society organisations. Furthermore, a targeted stakeholder consultation provided valuable horizontal and country-specific contributions. The Council of Europe also provided an overview of its recent opinions and reports concerning EU Member States. Prior to the adoption of the report, Member States have been given the opportunity to provide factual updates on their country chapter.
The network of national rule of law contact points established in 2020 to help setting up the mechanism, has continued to function as an ongoing channel of communication with Member States for the preparation of the Report as well as to exchange best practices.
2022 Rule of law report - methodology
Input from Member States
All Member States were invited to provide information on significant developments, primarily since the adoption of the 2021 Rule of Law Report, based on an updated questionnaire, discussed with Member States. The input is structured around the four pillars covered by the Report - the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism, and other institutional issues related to checks and balances – and was provided in an agreed template. The written input from Member States was supplemented by exchanges during the country visits and by information received from stakeholders.
2022 Rule of Law report - input from Member States
Targeted stakeholders consultation
As part of the preparation of the 2022 Rule of Law Report, the European Commission invited stakeholders to provide written contributions through a targeted stakeholder consultation opened from 1 December 2021 to 24 January 2022. The consultation has provided over 220 horizontal and country-specific contributions from a variety of EU agencies, European networks, national and European civil society organisations and professional associations and international and European actors. The information obtained from this consultation has contributed to the assessment of the Commission with factual findings on developments in the Member States.