The Crystallisation of a Core EU Meaning of the Rule of Law and Its (Limited) Normative Influence Beyond the EU
81 Pages Posted: 14 May 2022
Date Written: April 25, 2022
The rule of law is one of the fundamental values of Europe’s constitutional heritage and a legal principle common to the forty-seven Member States of the Council of Europe, twenty-seven of which are members of the EU. Even beyond the boundaries of Europe, the rule of law has been recognised as a foundational value, and a central tenant of both constitutional democracies and international institutions promoting peace: ‘no other single political ideal has ever achieved global endorsement,’ which means that the rule of law ‘stands in the peculiar state of being the preeminent legitimating political ideal in the world today, without agreement upon precisely what it means.’ This paper establishes the crystallisation of a core meaning of the rule of law in the European Union, and whether it is possible to speak of a ‘European’ conception of the rule of law. It builds on our two earlier working papers which examined unity and diversity in national understandings of the rule of law among EU member states, and the meaning and scope of the EU rule of law, to investigate the extent to which a ‘European conception of the rule of law’ can be both identified but also manifested within the EU. In doing so, it analyses the extent to which the EU’s understanding has shaped (and been shaped by) the conceptions promoted by other international organisations and the extent of dialogue with member states, and relations with third countries. The paper also seeks to consider the EU’s contribution to a renewed understanding of the rule of law on the international plane.
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