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Each year, the Commission prepares the annual Rule of Law Report and its country chapters, presenting positive and negative developments across Member States. It focuses on four specific areas of rule of law: the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and institutional checks and balances.
The Commission considers that the rule of law is “is the backbone of any modern constitutional democracy,” 1 hence the Rule of Law Report has gained a very significant role. It is meant to point at perceived threats to the four abovementioned areas of rule of law in Member States and ensures that the Commission’s assessment with regard to Article 7 TEU are met.
While it is stated that “the precise content of the principles and standards stemming from the rule of law may vary at national level, depending on each Member State's constitutional system” 2 the way the information is gathered does not take into account Member State’s constitutional system and political culture. Beyond the way information is gathered the report drafted raises questions as to necessary objectivity of this exercise, at the risk of turning this important mechanism into a political tool against Member States.
The Report is based on a dialogue engaged with Members State’s authorities and “relevant national stakeholders”, 3 as well as international professional organizations, such as the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Courts of the EU, the European Partners against corruption/European contact-point network against corruption, or the European Federation of Journalists, but also international non-governmental organizations such as the Open Society, European Policy Institute, or ILGA-Europe. This paper examines and analyzes the national stakeholders considered as “relevant” in the case of Hungary, with a special interest on the stakeholder’s possible biases and political leaning, based on the 2021 Rule of Law Report.
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