The EESC calls on the EU and Member States to work on better communicating fundamental rights and the rule of law towards the general public. In an opinion adopted in December, the Committee suggests focusing on fairness and justice and giving a voice to those who experience human rights violations first-hand.

The rule of law and fundamental rights can be perceived by some as overly abstract, distant, jargonistic and legalistic concepts. The Committee believes that this is a real danger which the EU needs to address.

Cristian Pîrvulescu, rapporteur for the EESC opinion "Communicating fundamental rights and the rule of law", explained that "lack of clear communication and education at European and national levels on these principles benefits the enemies of democracy. We call for more support for civil society awareness-raising activities and stronger school curricula."

Co-rapporteur José Antonio Moreno Díaz stressed that "Individuals cannot defend their fundamental rights if they do not know what they actually mean. EU actors, institutions, Member States, and civil society can make a difference by translating abstract concepts into meaningful and practical issues, creating a shared European culture of fundamental rights and the rule of law."
The EESC opinion argues that human rights protection and the rule of law are not possible in the absence of a welfare state. The two are interconnected: when the welfare state no longer works, society may view the rule of law as an empty concept. This link is also recognised in the European Pillar of Social Rights, an essential policy tool for building a more inclusive Union.

The Committee urges all EU institutions to demonstrate zero tolerance for rule of law breaches in EU Member States. In doing so, the EU should continue to rely on the definition of the rule of law provided by the European Commission for Democracy through Law, which offers a clear description of the key principles covered by the rule of law.  (gb)