Event Summary: Rule of Law and Democracy in the EU


On 28 March 2024, ELIAMEP, as part of the EUact2 project, organized a timely online debate on the topic of the rule of law and democracy in the EU. In light of the European Parliament elections, the discussion focused on the challenges, opportunities and advancements on the rule of law and democracy in the EU. This Greek-language event took place and was attended by 232 participants (133 women and 99 men). The session was highly interactive with predominant part used for questions and answers.

The two speakers, Vasilis Chatzopoulos (Professor, Panteion University and Researcher, ELIAMEP) and Manolis Perakis (Associate Professor, UoA), addressed the current challenges facing the European Union, emphasizing the issues that are frequently criticized and are raised in the public discourse around the EU's rule of law status. These ranged from the Qatargate scandal to democracy concerns in member states, including the wire-tapping scandal in Greece, violations towards migrants across the EU and LGBTIQ rights.

Mr. Hatzopoulos stressed that "the principles and values of democracy and the rule of law are what unite us and keep us together. If the Union cannot live up to that, then yes, it is faltering." However, he emphasized that we should not be overly pessimistic, as people still look to the Union's supranational institutions to have their voices heard. Similarly, Mr. Perakis remarked that the Union's order is based on the rule of law and that the Union's reflexes remain stronger than those of nation-states. He acknowledged, "Yes, we have had one of the biggest scandals casting a significant shadow over the Union, as the very European institutions that have always been a source of pride were 'hit.' However, the institutions acted quickly." Then he concluded with the question, "Are we sure that the same would happen if the same scandal happened in a member state?"

Instead of reflecting on the negative outcomes, everyone should contribute to monitoring and participating as much as possible, and as active citizens, we should also highlight ways to improve the institutions. Both speakers outlined that institutions bear a significant amount of responsibility, but by the end of the day, the citizens should always be actively engaged through their communities "checking" the institutions. As Mr. Hatzopoulos stated, "a vibrant civil society is the heartbeat of a thriving democracy."

Throughout the event, various questions were posed to the speakers, and the interaction in the online event was significant. Citizens were intensely interested in how the EU order works and how EU law takes precedence over national law. The speakers sought to answer questions about the functioning and structure of the Union and emphasized the importance of citizens' participation in elections by nominating representatives who would independently express the principles and values that underpin Europe. The discussion was moderated by Iliana Magra (Journalist, KATHIMERINI).


Obrázok, na ktorom je snímka obrazovky, písmo, elektrická modrá, grafika

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