Annual Conference on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law:

Civil Society's Take on the 2023 Rule of Law Report Recommendations

Hybrid conference via Interactio, EESC - JDE62 & online - Tuesday, 7 November 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

The annual conference of the EESC Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law (FRRL) Group will provide a platform for debate of the European Commission's fourth Report on the Rule of Law (July 2023).

It will gather EESC Members, civil society representatives (including social partners), EU institutions, Member States, and other stakeholders to discuss the main developments in the EU in the area of fundamental rights and the rule of law over the past year.

On the occasion of the conference, the FRRL Group will issue its third synthesis report covering the visits carried out in 2022.

09.00 a.m. - 10.00 a.m. | Online test and coffee

10.00 a.m. - 11.00 a.m. | Opening session: keynote speeches

Moderation: Florence RANSON, REDComm

  • Oliver RÖPKE, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Didier REYNDERS, European Commissioner for Justice
  • Balázs DÉNES, Executive Director, Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)


11.00 a.m. - 01.00 p.m. | Key developments in 2022

11.00 a.m. - 11.30 a.m. | Scene-setter

  • Presentation of the European Commission's 2023 Rule of Law Report:
    Annegret KEMPF, Policy Officer, Directorate General for Justice and Consumers, Rule of Law Unit (JUST C1)
    Anna KWINTKIEWICZ, Policy Officer, Secretariat General, Unit Citizens, Equality, Democracy, and Rule of Law (SG E1)
  • Presentation of the EESC Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law (FRRL) Group's synthesis report
    Paul SOETE, President of the EESC FRRL Group


11.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. | Roundtable 1: Civil society perspectives on developments in 2022

This roundtable will mostly gather civil society representatives met during the country visits led by the EESC Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law Group in 2022 to Greece, Finland, Slovakia, Portugal, Sweden, and Slovenia.

Moderator:Ozlem YILDIRIM, Vice-President of the FRRL Group

  • Stefanos LOUKOPOULOS, Director, VouliWatch (Greece)
  • Salla NAZARENKO, International Affairs Specialist, The Union of Journalists in Finland
  • Zuzana SERINOVÁ, Policy Officer, American Chamber Slovakia
  • Anuška DELIĆ, Director, Oštro (Slovenia)
  • Margarida MANO, Chairwoman, Transparency International Portugal
  • Aarti NARSEE, Policy and Advocacy Consultant, European Civic Forum
  • Katrien MEUWISSEN, Team Leader Human Rights, European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI)


12.30 p.m. - 01.00 p.m. | Roundtable 2: Focus on the rights of social partners

Chaired by Anders LADEFOGED, Member of the FRRL Group

  • Stefan CLAUWAERT, Senior Legal and Human Rights Advisor, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
  • Isabel YGLESIAS, Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE) Permanent delegate to Business Europe


01.00 p.m. - 02.30 p.m. | Lunch break

02.30 p.m. - 05.00 p.m. | The implementation of the Rule of Law Reports recommendations

Each discussion will gather around four civil society representatives to discuss two key questions:

  • Have the recommendations of the 2022 and 2023 European Commission Reports been implemented?
  • How to further consolidate the Rule of Law Review mechanism?

02:30 p.m. - 03.00 p.m. | Roundtable 3: Justice

Chaired by Christian BÄUMLER, Member of the FRRL Group

  • Paulina KIESZKOWSKA-KNAPIK, Co-Founder, Free Courts Foundation (Poland)
  • Zuzana SERINOVÁ, Policy Officer, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia (AmCham Slovakia)
  • Karolína BABICKÁ, Legal Adviser, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
  • Simone CUOMO, Secretary General of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)


03:00 p.m. - 03.30 p.m. | Roundtable 4: Corruption

Chaired by Jose Antonio MORENO DÍAZ, Member of the FRRL Group

  • Bilyana WEGERTSEDER, Director, Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives
  • Karina CARVALHO, Executive Director, Transparency International Portugal – on line
  • Nick AIOSSA, Acting Director, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Transparency International EU


03.30 p.m. - 04.00 p.m. | Coffee break

04:00 p.m. - 04.30 p.m. | Roundtable 5: Media

Chaired by Christian MOOS, Vice-President of the FRRL Group

  • Gábor POLYÁK, Lawyer and media expert, Mertek Media Monitor (Hungary)
  • Salla NAZARENKO, International Affairs Specialist, The Union of Journalists in Finland
  • Anuška DELIĆ, Director, Oštro (Slovenia)
  • Ricardo GUTIÉRREZ, General Secretary,European Federation of Journalists


04:30 p.m. - 05.00 p.m. | Roundtable 6: Checks and balances

Moderator: Dovilė JUODKAITĖ, Member of the FRRL Group

  • Nicolas KYRIAKIDES, Executive President & Founding Member, Oxygono/Cyprus Forum
  • Stefanos LOUKOPOULOS, Director, VouliWatch (Greece)
  • Carlotta BESOZZI, Coordinator, Civil Society Europe


05.00 p.m. – 05.30 p.m. | Conclusions and perspectives

  • Paul SOETE, EESC FRRL Group President
  • Juan Fernando LOPEZ AGUILAR, Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)
  • Joze STRUS, Policy Officer, European Commission Directorate General for Justice and Consumers, Rule of Law Unit (JUST C1)
  • Andreas ACCARDO, Head for Institutional Cooperation and Networks (INST), EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) – on line
  • Ismael PAEZ CIVICO, Board Member, European Youth Forum