The European Commission has published its second report on the Rule of Law

Jul 22, 2021

The European Commission has on 20 July 2021 published its second report on the Rule of Law. The report looks at new developments after last September and focuses on four areas: justice system, anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and media freedom and other institutional issues related to checks and balances. 

The report also takes into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and deepens the assessment of issues identified in the previous report. The Commission brings out amongst others the following regarding the rule of law in Finland:

  • The Finnish justice system continues to enjoy a very high level of perceived judicial independence.
  • Finland continues to be perceived as one of the least corrupt countries in the EU and the world. A dedicated comprehensive Government strategy to fight corruption was adopted on 27 May 2021.
  • Lobbying remains currently unregulated, however, the Government is drafting legislation that would provide for a transparency register.
  • New specific legislation has been adopted obliging media service providers to make publicly accessible information on their ownership structure.
  • To address hate speech directed towards female journalists, the Government is preparing a change in the Criminal Code for gender to be added among the motives that constitute grounds for increasing the punishment for (any) crime.
  • The Government has adopted an Action Plan on Better Regulation, which aims at improving the quality, planning and transparency of legislation.
  • The reform process to clarify the tasks of the Chancellor of Justice and the Ombudsman is supported by both authorities and is planned to be presented to Parliament in autumn 2021.

The communication looking at the situation in the whole of EU and dedicated country chapters can be found here. The chapter regarding Finland can be read here and the EU Commission’s press release here.

The Human Rights Centre has contributed to the Commission’s report via a shadow report which was compiled and published by the European Network of Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and sent to the Commission in March. You can read ENNHRI’s report here.

The Human Rights Delegation of the Human Rights Centre has published recommendations to decision-makers on how rights need to be secured during the coronavirus pandemic and in its aftercare. The publication also includes recommendations related to questions on rule of law. You can read the publication here.