Cities for the Rule of Law

The European Union is a Union of values: fundamental rights, democracy, rule of law. Safeguarding and upholding the democratic institutions and values is a shared responsibility of Member States and EU institutions. The organisers of this conference however believe that local level, cities, and regions have a pivotal role in promoting and defending these values too. Even more so because democratic deficits, as some recent examples show, have serious consequences for their functioning.

Cities for the Rule of Law

Rule of law issues came up high on the European agenda in the past decade. Dismantling democracy in member states as Hungary or Poland, rule of law shortcomings many other places put in the focus difficulties of the European Union to stand up efficiently in the protection of fundamental European values and rights of democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, and cooperation. As a reaction, in a painfully slow process, the EU strengthened its rule of law framework with the Rule of Law Reports and the Rule of law conditionality mechanism. The former indicated rule of law concerns in many member states, while the latter is already launched in the case of Hungary. Still, it must be clear, that the general decline of democracy and problems of rule of law cannot be solved solely by EU institutions. Local level, cities and regions have a pivotal role in defending and promoting the rule of law, while they are also among the first ones to suffer from the lack of the rule of law in a country. This makes their experiences extremely relevant when it comes to any rule of law discussion in the EU.

The Pact of Free Cities, initiated by the Mayors of the capital cities of the V4 group, grown by now a European and global network of more than 30 cities, is based on the values of democracy, freedom, human dignity, and the rule of law. It is committed to promote and defend these values within and beyond the European Union. With this conference organized in the framework of the Pact of Free Cities we aim to discuss the experiences, role, and difficulties of our cities to maintain and protect the rule of law, to share our knowledge with each other and key European stakeholders, and to channel in information into the ongoing European rule of law discussions and procedures.

Our Venue


Hôtel de Ville, Grand-Place, Brussels


07.02 09:00-06.02.2023 23:00

Attached files



Open letter