CEPS Project

The establishment of an EU scoreboard on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights


The European Union is founded on a set of common principles of democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights, as enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union. Whereas future Member States are vetted for their compliance with these values before they accede to the Union, no similar method exists to supervise adherence to these foundational principles after accession. EU history proved that this ‘Copenhagen dilemma’ was far from theoretical. EU Member State governments’ adherence to foundational EU values cannot be taken for granted. Violations may happen in individual cases, or in a systemic way, which may go as far as overthrowing the rule of law. Against this background the European Parliament initiated a Legislative Own-Initiative Report on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights and proposed among others a Scoreboard on the basis of common and objective indicators by which foundational values can be measured. This Research Paper assesses the need and possibilities for the establishment of an EU Scoreboard, as well as its related social, economic, legal and political ‘costs and benefits’.

This project was awarded under the Framework Contract for provision of external expertise in the fields of impact assessment and European added value: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Women’s Rights and Petitions (Lot 6) (IP/G/ALL/FAC/2013-002/Lot 6/C5) with the European Parliament, DG for Internal Policies of the Union. The full list of CEPS’ Framework Contracts is available here.

Elspeth Guild

Miriam Mir Canet

Project Officer

+49 (0)151 41 44 66 52

Sergio Carrera

Senior Research Fellow and Head of Justice and Home Affairs unit

+32 (0)2 229 39 26