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Rule of Law in Europe
Event report available
Organised by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and the Institute for Christian Democratic Politics, this timely conference is focused on the principle of the rule of law in Europe. There will be three panels in total, with a moderator, and opportunities for audience engagement with the speakers. The first panel will debate the importance of the rule of law for the functioning operation of the EU. The second panel will focus on current issues with the compliance with the rule of law principle in the EU. The European Commission’s Rule of Law Report on the situation in the countries of the EU will be presented together with the perspectives on the Report from the point of view of the Central-European countries affected by it, with particular focus paid to Czechia, Poland and Hungary. We are very pleased to have Commissioner for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, among the discussants. The third and final panel will focus on Czech context at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, which aims to uncover what did the pandemic show about the rule of law in Czechia. Finally, the panel will reflect on whether certain precedents for future crisis management be drawn from the government's approach to the pandemic, in contrast to subsequent interventions of the Supreme Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court. Programme: 10:15 - 11:45 Panel I: The importance of the rule of law for the functioning of the EU - Jiří PŘIBÁŇ , Professor of Law at Cardiff University - Pavel SVOBODA , former Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament - Angelos CHRYSSOGELOS , Research Associate at the Wilfried Martens Center for European Studies - Ivana JANŮ , former Vice-President of the Constitutional Court 12:45 - 14:15 II. panel: Current problems with the rule of law in the EU - Věra JOUROVÁ , Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Values and Transparency - Martin SMOLEK , Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for the Management of the Legal and Consular Section - Vít DOSTÁL , Executive Director of the AMO Research Center - Jana PLAŇAVOVÁ-LATANOWICZ , Center for Europe - University of Warsaw 14:30 - 16:00 III. panel: The principle of the rule of law and the solution of a pandemic in the Czech Republic - Jan KYSELA , Department of Political Science and Sociology - Faculty of Law, Charles University - Martin BUCHTÍK, Director of the STEM Center for Empirical Research - Marek VÝBORNÝ , member of the Constitutional Legal Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic - Andrea PROCHÁZKOVÁ , editor of Týdeník Respektu This Conference receives financial support from the European Parliament. Sole liability rests with the organisers. The European Parliament is not responsible for the activity.
In-person registration is now closed. Tune in online to connect virtually (English + Czech): https://www.youtube.com/c/IKDPcz
Thákurova 1, 160 00 Praha 6-Dejvice, Czechia
Thákurova 1, 160 00 Praha 6-Dejvice, Czechia
Event reportOn Friday 22 October 2021, a conference on the rule of law in Europe and in Czechia took place at Masaryk College in Prague. The Conference was organised by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and the Institute for Christian Democratic Politics (Institut pro křesťansko-demokratickou politiku). In three thematic blocks, representatives of both the political and academic sphere discussed, along with audience participation, current developments and possible future perspectives on the rule of law in Europe. The first panel was dedicated to the very definition of the rule of law and its importance for the EU. "In the 20th century we saw that the law can be the worst tool of a tyrant. But at the same time, we have known since antiquity that it is only by law that human freedom can be constituted," stated Jiří Přibáň, Professor of Law at Cardiff University, in his opening address. Pavel Svoboda, former chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs, recalled the perspective of past and present decision-making within the EU institutions. The overview of the political dimension of the EU dedicion making was then highlighted by Angelos Chryssogelos, Research Fellow of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies. Former Vice-Chair of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic Ivana Janů referred to the principal problematic moments in the functioning of the rule of law in Czechia. At the very beginning of the second panel, Martin Smolek, Deputy Minister for Legal and Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, underlined that the rule of law is not expressly defined in European legislation, and, therefore, it is necessary to approach the evaluation of controversial points with sensitivity. Vít Dostál, the executive director of the Association for International Affairs, directed his contribution to the reflection of concrete political implications of critical moments within the rule of law in Europe in relation to the Czechia. Jana Plaňavová-Latanowicz from the University of Warsaw then focused on presenting not only the legal anchoring of the recent decisions of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, but also on an assessment of the social mood in contemporary Poland. "What I want to say here is that we, as the Commission, approach these conflicts as a strictly non-political topic – as a topic that has no ideology," stressed Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency. In the final session, the issues of the functioning of the rule of law in the Czechia in times of the current pandemic were discussed. Constitution expert Jan Kysela assessed the dimension of professional decision-making and its pitfalls in adapting to the Czech legal order in response to the pandemic. Martin Buchtík, Director of the STEM Empirical Research Centre, commented on trust in legal system in a general context. Marek Výborný, a Czech MP, noted that "... the only entities that really stood the test of the pandemic were the courts. (...) This also refers to a tragic situation where the executive power was unable to issue measures that would be in accordance with the law in Czechia." Andrea Procházková, editor of the weekly Respekt, added that some measures were not sufficiently explained to citizens during the pandemic and that the authors of these measures were also unable to respond adequately to the criticisms resulting from the courts' decisions. The conference was moderated by Kateřina Zichová, editor of Euractiv.cz. The event was organised by the Institute for Christian Democratic Policy in cooperation with the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies. The organisers consider the event to be a very succesful one. About 70 persons participated the conference on the spot. The percentage of men and women participating in the event was well balanced. The conference was attended by representatives from various sectors, for instance EU-countries embassies in Prague, media, state administration, academia, but also High prosecuting attorney's office of the Czech Republic. The debate in all the three panels was very vivid and the level of interaction from the audience was significant. Not all the questions from the audience could be answered within the limited time. *The conference receives financial support from the European Parliament. Sole liability rests with the organiser. The European Parliament is not responsible for the activity.*
10:00 - 16:15
Number of participants 80
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