Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Binding the Guardian: On the European Commission’s Failure to Safeguard the Rule of Law

Azmanova, Albena and Howard, Bethany (2021) Binding the Guardian: On the European Commission’s Failure to Safeguard the Rule of Law. Project report. European Parliament, Brussels (KAR id:92062)


This study investigates the European Commission’s capacity to safeguard the rule of law in the European Union. With reference to the Commission's annual Rule of Law reports for 2020 and 2021 for Spain, France, and Bulgaria, it finds that the Commission does not fulfil its duties as ‘Guardian of the Treaties’ with these reports as it “fails to give justification for the selectivity of information it has included, is prone to the use of obscure language that condones inherent threats to the rule of law and systemic institutional deficiencies, and is swayed by political bias.” Though these yearly country Rule of Law reports are not binding, the study finds that “when mishandled, this seemingly innocuous policy tool can do serious damage.” The authors argue that the country reports must be brought in line with the rule of law and sets down a series of recommendations to this end. As well as changes to the methodology and presentation of the country-specific reports, they make the case for the creation of a citizen-centered rule of law platform on which citizens share experiences of rule of law breaches and call the Commission to account for the way it monitors the rule of law.

The study was commissioned by MEP Clare Daly.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Project report)
Uncontrolled keywords: rule of law, European Commission, European Union, democracy
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions and public administration
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Albena Azmanova
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2021 17:18 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 14:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.