Communicating fundamental rights and the rule of law

EESC opinion: Communicating fundamental rights and the rule of law

Key points


  • recalls that the EU is based on common values, as stated in Article 2 TEU, and that the rule of law and human rights are part of the European identity;
  • urges all EU institutions to demonstrate zero tolerance for rule of law breaches in the Member States. The EU has a legal duty to uphold the rule of law and protection of fundamental rights;
  • notes that the rule of law and fundamental rights can be perceived by some as excessively abstract, distant, jargonistic and legalistic concepts;
  • recalls, however, that the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe offers a clear description of the key principles covered by the rule of law. These are clear criteria for assessing the conformity of any State action with these principles;
  • emphasises the need for all EU institutions to actively communicate directly the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the rule of law to the general public, by focussing on shared values and relatable concepts of fairness and justice, and telling a human story;
  • considers that human rights protection and the rule of law are not possible in the absence of the welfare state, and interconnectedness which is recognised by the European Pillar of Social Rights, an essential policy tool for building a more inclusive Union;
  • believes that civil society plays a key role in preserving liberal democracy from authoritarianism. More stakeholders should be involved in the efforts to make the rule of law a more tangible reality: the social partners, professional organisations such as Bar and Law societies, and grassroots organisations;
  • calls for Member States to mainstream the rule of law and fundamental rights in schools and higher education.