NHC contributes to EC Rule of Law Report on the Netherlands
In June 2021, the European Commission will for the second year in a row publish its Rule of Law report on all 27 EU Member States. Just as in 2020, the NHC provided input for the report on the Netherlands. The report is part of a wider Rule of Law Mechanism, which marks a new opportunity to uphold democracy in the EU.
The NHC provided input for the report together with a number of leading NGOs from The Netherlands: Transparency International (NL), Commissie Meijers, Free Press Unlimited and the Dutch Association of Journalists. This year, we focused on the influence corruption has on the Rule of Law, and on what we consider to be a shrinking space for civil society, also in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NHC met with representatives of the European Commission following the submission of the input to the report to further discuss current issues in the Netherlands. In the past year, the NHC has been vocal on a number of matters relevant to this year’s report:
- Published a report on issues of transborder corruption
- Organised a series of panel discussions on the shrinking of civic space in Turkey and across Europe
- Issued recommendations to the Dutch Foreign Affairs Committee on the Impact of COVID-19 on Human Rights
- Encouraged a discussion of Rule of Law matters with representatives of the Dutch Parliament and welcoming the increased focus on Rule of Law in Europe on the level of national parliaments
The input provided for this report is a logical continuation of our ongoing efforts to shine a light on these matters, in the Netherlands as much as in the rest of Europe. As such, our input highlighted the need for increased transparency when in comes to political lobbying in the Netherlands, as well as enforcement of judicial prosecution for foreign perpetrators of (bribery) crimes under employment/instruction of Dutch companies.
We welcome the discussion and hope this is the first of many steps to further encourage a healthy dialogue on these vital topics after the publication of the report:
We believe that the reports from the Commission can play an important role in an effective debate about the relevance of Rule of Law in the EU, especially when civil society is consulted on its contents and recommendations. It can be a crucial part in a wider and more ambitious European Rule of Law Mechanism, effectively upholding the independence of the judiciary and press freedom. There should be no room to compromise on key values such as Rule of Law: values to which every Member State agreed when they acceded. – Pepijn Gerrits, Executive Director NHC
For our full contribution, please see here.