On Friday 5 March, we organised a seminar about the rule of law and invited three amazing speakers to talk about possible lessons for the future and the discussion was led by our member John Morijn. Márta Pardavi (co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee) talked about the situation in Hungary and what she sees as avenues that organisations such as the Meijers Committee can take to tackle this issue efficiently. Anna Wójcik (researcher at the Institute of Legal Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, co-founder of ruleoflaw.pl and coordinator of The Wiktor Osiatyński Archive) talked about the current situation in Poland and what she sees as promising tools and instruments to address and change the current rule of law backsliding in the EU and particularly Poland. Kim Lane Scheppele (Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University) reflected on what (more) can be done and by whom concerning the democratic backsliding happening in several EU member states. Kim stressed furthermore that we cannot longer speak of ‘backsliding’ but should rather call it a ‘concerted assault on democracy in Poland and Hungary’. After the speeches, the participants had the opportunity to ask questions. We want to thank all speakers and participants for joining us for our first seminar organised within the project ‘Safeguarding the Rule of Law in the EU’.
The state of the rule of law in the EU has significantly deteriorated in recent years. In several Member States, rule of law deficiencies are clearly visible but concerns about systemic violations of the rule of law especially persist in Poland and Hungary. These countries face a severe undermining of the rule of law, a threat to the independence of the judiciary and subsequently severe risks to civil liberties.
The EU has various means at its disposal to take action against this deterioration of the rule of law, but their use is limited. Where they are used, they appear to be ineffective so far. The gradual dismantling of fundamental achievements in some Member States in relation to the rule of law situation is a cause of great concern to the Meijers Committee. Therefore, the Committee organizes a seminar on the rule of law in the European Union to learn what the lessons are for the future of the rule of law situation, where more action is needed and where coordination and cooperation is possible.
The Meijers Committee has thus invited three speakers to discuss relevant issues and promising tools for the current rule of law situation in Hungary and Poland. Our member John Morijn will lead the discussion.
|12:30 – 12:40||John Morijn – Introduction|
|12:40 – 13:00||Márta Padavi – The rule of law situation in Hungary – what are the main issues?|
|13:00 – 13:20||Anna Wójcik – The rule of law situation in Poland – what are the main issues?|
|13:20 – |
|Kim Lane Scheppele – Reflection: What (more) can be done, and by whom?|
|13:40 – 14:30||Discussion|
You can register for free by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send you a link for the seminar in the week of the event.
Information about speakers
John Morijn is professor of law and politics in international relations and assistant professor of European human rights law at the University of Groningen. John Morijn has also worked as a civil servant at both the Ministry of Justice and Security and the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations, including as the Head of the Home Affairs Division at the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU in Brussels. He is also a Commissioner of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights as well as a member of the Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs (ACVZ). Since November 2019, John Morijn has been a member of the Meijers Committee.
Márta Pardavi is co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. She has a law degree from the ELTE Law Faculty in Budapest. Márta Pardavi is part of the board of the PILnet Hungary Foundation and the Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. Furthermore, Márta has served as board member and vice-chair of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. She has been awarded the 2018 William D. Zabel Human Rights Award from Human Rights First, Civil Rights Defender’s Civil Rights Defenders of the Year 2019 award and was chosen to be a member POLITICO28 Class of 2019
Anna Wójcik is a researcher at the Institute of Legal Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her Ph.D has the topic “Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspective MELA” research consortium established between T.M.C.Asser, Queen Mary University of London, University of Bologna, and the Polish Academy of Sciences. Previously, she obtained a law degree from University of Warsaw and a sociology degree from the Central European University in Budapest. Anna Wójcik regularly writes about the current rule of law situation in Poland, such as for the Verfassungsblog or Notes from Poland. She is furthermore a co-founder of ruleoflaw.pl and coordinator of The Wiktor Osiatyński Archive, a rule of law monitoring initiative.
Kim Lane Scheppele
Kim Lane Scheppele is Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Previously, she was Director of the Princeton University Program in Law and Public Affairs for 10 years, after serving on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law for nearly a decade. There she held the John O’Brien Professorship of Comparative Law and the Professorship of Sociology. Kim Lane Scheppele concentrates on comparative constitutional law, using ethnographic, historical and doctrinal methods to understand the emergence and collapse of constitutional systems. She regularly writes about the authoritarian regimes and the law and politics of Hungary and Poland, for example for Verfassungsblog.