Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio said that the institution has recorded success in the 30 years since it was formed but warned that it is needed more than ever to uphold the checks and balances needed for a functioning democratic system.
“In my view, the Commission is needed now more than ever before, to defend and promote, in partnership with the organs of the Council of Europe and the European Union respect for rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, free and fair elections and respect for human rights as well as checks and balances for a functioning democratic system,” Buquicchio said in a statement on the 30th anniversary of the forming of the European Commission for Democracy through Law, the official name of the Venice Commission which was formed by 18 ambassadors of Council of Europe member states.
According to Buquicchio, the forming of the Commission seemed at the time “like the creation of just another technical advisory body but proved to be an event of major significance for the development of the rule of law and democracy in Europe and beyond”.
He said that the Venice Commission has played a major role in drafting the constitutions of the new democracies in central and eastern Europe, helped them implement reforms and became a main reference on the development of international standards on rule of law, democracy and human rights. It has also helped set up constitutional court and develop standards for democratic elections.
According to Buquicchio, the Venice Commission’s support has been crucial for public trust in reforms. “It has become a partner for the countries of the southern Mediterranean and central Asia and has increased its membership to 62 countries,” he added.
“Despite this success, many challenges remain and the current Covid-19 crisis reminds us that progress is never irreversible. We must safeguard pluralistic democracy and prevent its degeneration into an authoritarian regime,” he said.