Common Constitutional Values and the Rule of Law: an Overview from the EU Perspective

By Ornella Porchia

The rule of law is one of the values that is common to all Member States. Indeed, it could be intended as a source of principles that the Court of Justice of the European Union has identified as general principles stemming from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States. Despite its origin, in recent years, widespread concern on the need to reinforce respect for the rule of law internally has prompted the EU s political institutions (Commission, Council and Parliament) to adopt a number of initiatives. After an introduc- tion of these initiatives, the paper identifies three key legal issues, which are essential in the broader debate on common constitutional traditions in the EU: the division of competences between the EU and the Member States, the need to respect the constitutional identity of Member States (and their constitutio- nal traditions) and the principle of equality among Member States.