How to Make Sense of the New EU-Budget Rule of Law Mechanism by Developing the EU Justice Scoreboard into a Rule of Law Index. Using an Existing Tool in the EU Rule of Law Crisis in a More Efficient Way
German Law Journal, Forthcoming 2021
23 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 11, 2020
In this paper we argue that rule of law indices are a powerful tool to detect ills in the rule of law of EU Member States. In addition, we explain how rule of law indices can help making sense of the new EU-Budget rule of law mechanism. In order to explain how to improve the indices’ potential, we give a critical overview of the methodological issues of four rule of law indices which we consider particularly instructive for our purpose. These are the indices provided by Freedom House (“Freedom in the World”, FIW), the Bertelsmann Stiftung (“Bertelsmann Transformation Index”, BTI), the World Bank (“Worldwide Governance Indicators”, WGI), and the World Justice Project (“Rule of Law Index”, WJP RLI). After analysing the strengths and weaknesses of these indices, we turn to the EU Justice Scoreboard (EUJS). While the introduction of the EUJS in 2013 has already been an important step in order to lay the ground for an EU wide analysis, in this paper we suggest how the EUJS should be further developed into a proper rule of law index aggregating expert opinions into a single number. This would make the EUJS a significantly more useful tool in the ongoing EU rule of law crisis, especially in relation to the new EU-Budget rule of law mechanism.
Keywords: EU rule of law crisis; rule of law indices; EU Justice Scoreboard; empirical legal research; Art. 2 TEU values
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