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Weekly Update 29 April 2022

Weekly Update 29 April 2022

Dear Friends,

What is the state of the Rule of Law in Europe today, and what can be done to strengthen it? This question has become ever more important - even for mainstream politicians - in the context of the war in Ukraine, increasingly bitter disputes about democratic "backsliding", and a growing body of regional Rule of Law standards and monitoring mechanisms.

For some, the European Rule of Law glass is half-full, while others insist that it is half-empty. This month, the Bingham Centre partnered in a conference where high-level speakers shared their perspectives. Elizabeth Andersen, Executive Director of the US-based World Justice Project, a leading organisation in the field of the Rule of Law and its measurement, affirmed that "because of its relatively strong Rule of Law and the governance tools at its disposal, the EU is uniquely placed to lead the world out of this global Rule of Law recession". Speaking at the same event, the former European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, lamented that "it is particularly sad that European institutions have to take action to secure the Rule of Law and minority rights in some Member States".

This conference, where other speakers included the current Presidents of the Court of Justice of the EU and its General Court, marked the culmination of the four-year project 'Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Law and Democracy' (RECONNECT), which was funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 programme. The Bingham Centre participated in RECONNECT together with 17 partner organisations from across the continent.

This Update brings you news of a new journal article on Rule of Law measurement by Bingham Centre's Julinda Beqiraj and Lucy Moxham drawing on RECONNECT project research, and the online publication of a complete set of all the educational materials for young people in the EU, which is another result of RECONNECT. We report on our UK-focused public and youth engagement programme, which visited another school this week. We take stock of the last parliamentary exchanges on the UK's controversial Nationality and Borders Bill, which passed into law this week without safeguards for the UN Refugee Convention that the Bingham Centre had argued for and which the House of Lords had previously inserted.

The Update goes on to provide a detailed summary of the RECONNECT conference, which is available in full in video. We are also able to share an interview with a RECONNECT expert who discusses Rule of Law based arguments for allowing Ukraine a fast-track to EU accession. Finally we bring you the latest news from the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre, a consortium led by the Bingham Centre.

Next week, we will discuss two further Bingham Centre activities that took place this week on highly topical issues that we have been addressing in the context of the RECONNECT project. The first is the publication of a Q&A explaining the UK Government proposals for replacing the Human Rights Act 1998 and examining the implications for Europe. The second item of news relates to an event we held on "Lessons for a 'Post-Pandemic' Future", which drew together work conducted for the RECONNECT project, and the Bingham Centre's other projects on COVID-19 and the Rule of Law.

You can read the whole Weekly Update here.

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