Monitor and regularly report on the state of and potential restrictions on the freedom of assembly across Member States, highlighting practices that contravene relevant international law
Non-violent protest is an important tool, often the last resort of civic activism and advocacy, and a basic right all citizens and their organisations should be able to exercise freely without undue impediments. In spite of this, recently several Member States tabled or approved legislation restricting free assembly, under the guise of (pandemic-related) emergency measures or public order and safety, ranging from a total ban to allowing excessive room for intervention by the police. Such restrictions must always be proportional, justified and limited in their time – but some current legislative proposals do not meet these criteria.
While the regulation of assemblies is again a Member State competence, EU institutions (the Commission) could and should monitor these potential restrictions, publish findings regularly (e.g. in the annual Rule of Law report), and formulate recommendations for best practice to Member States.