State of the Rule of Law in Europe – 2021

Reports from National Human Rights Institutions

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are key players in the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as state-mandated bodies acting independently of government with a broad human rights mandate. This report brings together reporting from NHRIs in Europe on the rule of law situation in their country, collected in February and March 2021. It identifies key trends across the region and details the specific situation in each country, including in the context of governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive summary

This Executive Summary explains the contribution of NHRIs and ENNHRI towards advancing the rule of law in Europe, the purpose of this report, the key findings of the report, and the next steps planned beyond this report’s publication.

Introduction: report's relevance and impact

This section introduces the report, including an overview of ENNHRI and NHRIs’ work on the rule of law and the relevance of a united approach to rule of law reporting, as well as the report’s scope, methodology and next steps.

Outline of key trends identified in the reporting, including issues related to: the independence and effectiveness of the NHRI; human rights defenders and civil society space; checks and balances; justice systems; media pluralism; corruption; and COVID-19.

Country reports

Use this table to navigate through the report, click on the icon to read the section.

Last updated in June 2021

The Parliamentary Ombudsman is consulted directly by the European Commission for its report and therefore the contribution to ENNHRI’s report by the HRC does not include the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and no information on corruption.

2  The country report on France was compiled on the basis of selected CNCDH’s published reports and positions and statements by civil society organisations.

3 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

4 In view of the ongoing process to establish an institution in compliance with the UN Paris Principles, the Swedish Equality Ombudsman (B-status NHRI) abstained from contributing to this reporting process.