Peer reviewing the rule of law? A new mechanism to safeguard EU values

Thomas Conzelmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The possible remedies that the EU can use against backsliding on the rule of law are limited: While art. 7 TEU has been widely conceived as ineffective, the recently introduced budget conditionality may become bogged down in court cases. Softer instruments like the Commission Rule of Law Report provide observations on rule of law developments, but are in themselves unable to address transgressions. Against this background, the Council has recently introduced a peer review mechanism that may exert peer and public pressure on transgressors. However, the agreed procedures show important deficits such as lacking transparency to the outside world, limited time devoted to the review, and the absence of clear country-specific recommendations that could become the focus of peer and public pressure. The new procedure thus needs reform to achieve results. A comparison with peer reviews among states in other international organizations show the potential that peer reviewing holds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671–695
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Papers : a journal on law and integration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022

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