Publications

Rule of law

An Article 19 Mechanism - The need for a robust defence of EU rule of law

23 Jul 2020

The EU faces three major crises today. One is a public health crisis, which threatens hundreds of thousands of lives. One is an unprecedented economic and social crisis, which puts at risk the employment and livelihoods of tens of millions of Europeans. And then there is a crisis of core values that underpin the European project: the rule of law and the checks and balances of liberal democracy. These are under attack today from inside and outside the Union.

Europe

The wizard, the virus and a pot of gold - Viktor Orban and the future of European solidarity

18 Apr 2020

30 March 2020 was a dark day in the history of EU assistance. It highlighted the fact that this system of solidarity had gone fundamentally wrong. Europeans now need to find better ways to defend the values enshrined in their treaties, not with pious words and empty threats, but in the language of power and money that politicians like Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban will understand.

Greece

The Aegean Tragedy – Key facts and key steps

24 Jan 2020

Priorities this winter: end the humanitarian emergency on the islands; avoid a new humanitarian emergency on the mainland; reduce the number of people crossing the Balkan route; ensure that there are no push backs at any border in South East Europe.

Western Balkans

Hamster in the Wheel - Credibility and EU Balkan policy

15 Jan 2020

Balkan enlargement was in crisis even before EU leaders failed to agree in 2019 on opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Unless there is a change in methodology and pace, no Western Balkan country is likely to be a member of the EU by 2030. 

Migration

How to implement the EU-Turkey Statement: Phase II – Key facts and key steps

24 Dec 2019

Priorities this winter: end the humanitarian emergency on the islands; avoid a new humanitarian emergency on the mainland; reduce the number of people crossing the Balkan route; ensure that there are no push backs at any border in South East Europe.

Poland

Poland’s deepening crisis - When the rule of law dies in Europe

14 Dec 2019

No member state in the history of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control as the current Polish government. The Polish case has become a test whether it is possible to create a Soviet-style justice system in an EU member state; a system where the control of courts, prosecutors and judges lies with the executive and a single party.

Serbia

The Hypnotist – Aleksandar Vucic, John Bolton and the return of the past

25 Apr 2019

It is remarkable how little change there has been in the key personnel in Serbian politics since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. It is not surprising, therefore, that the old nationalist idea of redrawing borders on the basis of ethnicity has continued to be so prominent. What is surprising is the recent success that Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic has had in repackaging this old idea as progressive, non-conventional, out-of-the-box thinking. Why not, the siren song goes (again), adjust some borders along ethnic lines, as long as the process is negotiated peacefully and leads to reconciliation?

Poland

The disciplinary system for judges in Poland - The case for infringement proceedings

22 Mar 2019

This opinion accompanies the ESI report “Under Siege: Why Polish courts matter for Europe”. It sets out the legal basis for the European Commission to initiate infringement proceedings against Poland in respect of recent reforms to the disciplinary system for Polish judges.

Poland

The disciplinary system for judges in Poland - The case for infringement proceedings

22 Mar 2019

This opinion accompanies the ESI report "Under Siege: Why Polish courts matter for Europe". It sets out the legal basis for the European Commission to initiate infringement proceedings against Poland in respect of recent reforms to the disciplinary system for Polish judges.

Poland

Under Siege – Why Polish courts matter for Europe

22 Mar 2019

In countries respectful of the rule of law the disciplinary system for judges is meant to uphold standards and prevent abuse. It does not do so in Poland. No other European democracy has a system like the Polish one. Nowhere else is there such a concentration of powers in the hands of one man.

The power of focus - Proposal for a European human rights entry ban commission

14 Nov 2018

Today there is an urgent need to defend key human rights norms, such as the bans on torture, on political imprisonment and on extra-judicial killings. Leaders in many countries are questioning these norms and the international treaties that protect them; in others they are violated with impunity. European democracies have an interest to send a strong message to human rights violators and the wider public that these actions remain wrong and shameful.

Negotiating with a pointed gun - Sanctions, appeasement and the role of Russia in the Council of Europe

8 Oct 2018

Legislators in Strasbourg will be voting on changes to PACE’s powers to sanction the parliamentary delegations of states violating human rights, democracy and the rule of law. They will also be voting on something much bigger: the relevance and credibility of the Council of Europe itself.

Migration

A Rome Plan for the Mediterranean migration crisis - The case for take-back realism

14 Aug 2018

The European Union urgently needs a credible policy on asylum and border management. It must combine effective control of external land and sea borders with respect for existing international and EU refugee law.

Migration

"On the brink of victory" - Viktor Orban, rhetorical poison and a vision of hell

15 Jun 2018

In February 2018 Viktor Orban gave a carefully crafted speech on the eve of recent Hungarian elections, appealing to (West) European leaders to "reverse" the presence of Muslims in their cities. No wonder that the first to congratulate Orban following his election victory in April were Europe's racist and far-right parties.

Poland

Hukukun Bittiği Yer. Polonya'da hukuk devletinin çöküşü – Ne yapmalı?

29 May 2018

Daha önce hiçbir AB üyesi devlet, mahkemelerini yürütmenin denetimine Polonya hükûmeti kadar sokmadı. Polonya örneği, bir AB üyesi ülkede Sovyet tarzı bir yargı düzeni, yani mahkemelerin, savcıların ve hâkimlerin üzerinde denetimin yürütmeye ve tek bir partiye verildiği bir düzenin kurulup kurulamayacağının adeta bir denemesi.

Poland

Where the law ends. The collapse of the rule of law in Poland – and what to do

29 May 2018

No member state of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control as the current Polish government has done. The Polish case is a test whether it is possible to create a Soviet-style justice system, where the control of courts, prosecutors and judges lies with the executive and a single party, in an EU member state.