Rule of law – common principle requiring understanding

Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union provides that the rule of law is one of the common values among Member States. Following the Habermas’ concept of constitutional patriotism, it will be argued that the upholding of the rule of law necessitates its understanding anchored within citizens.
To that end the situation of the rule of law in Poland will be analyzed, including against the backdrop of the impact that decisions affecting the functioning of key constitutional safeguards had among the general population. It will be argued that whilst this population remains by and large unaffected by fundamental constitutional changes occurring within their polity, its members nonetheless professes a deep attachment to the value of the rule of law.
On the aforementioned basis, a hypothesis will be proposed that, at present, much work remains to be done within EU societies as regards the common endeavor of upholding the EU fundamental values and principles.

Judicial cooperation in times of distrust

EU law is based on the fundamental premiss that Member States share a set of common values, as stated in Article 2 TEU. That premiss implies and justifies the existence of mutual trust between them.

The European arrest warrant is the first concrete measure in the field of criminal law implementing the principle of mutual recognition, the cornerstone of judicial cooperation.

The principle of mutual trust and the principle of mutual recognition allow an area without internal borders to be maintained. Not only inhuman and degrading detention conditions, but possible violations of the right to a fair trial have called into question the mutual trust.

Systemic and generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law undermine mutual trust and hinder mutual recognition. Benchmarks to be applied for such determination remain unclear. EU institutions can play a key role in reporting on and assessing such deficiencies to avoid the fragmentation of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.

A Rule of Law Mechanism fit for the European Union? A regional and international perspective

The European Union is a relatively new player in the field of rule of law in its Member States. However, in recent years, the European Commission issued the “Rule of Law Framework”, the Article 7(1) TEU procedure has been activated for the first time and infringement proceedings have been used to uphold judicial independence. The latest tool in this toolbox is the European Rule of Law Mechanism, a “preventive” instrument, consisting in the monitoring of the situation in all Member States. This new Mechanism, a monitoring cycle, recall certain characteristics of monitoring processes typical of other organizations, such as the Council of Europe and the United Nations. This paper aims at demonstrating how the institutional context in which the Rule of Law Mechanism takes shape will contribute to its peculiarity vis-à-vis monitoring instruments of other regional and international organizations, both in terms of the carrying out of the monitoring and in the follow-up to its outcome.