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Time to act! The Commission must apply the rule of law conditionality mechanism without further delay

Date

24 Mar 2021

Sections

Justice & Home Affairs

Today the Socialists and Democrats will vote in favour of the resolution calling on the European Commission to speed up the application of the new mechanism, making access to EU funds conditional on respecting the rule of law and EU fundamental values. This new tool entered into force on January 1, after a difficult negotiation with the member states, and is now legally binding.

In the light of the Polish and Hungarian efforts to annul the new regulation, the European Parliament reaffirms that it will defend the validity of the new mechanism before the Court of Justice and will request an expedited procedure. However, the European Parliament resolution reiterates that the actions brought before the Court of Justice must not have any suspensory effect.

MEP Eider Gardiazabal, who negotiated the rule of law conditionality regulation and the resolution on behalf of the S&Ds, said:

“The rule of law conditionality mechanism is one of the most important and most keenly awaited EU regulations: it was a hard-fought battle. Now is time to make full use of it, because unfortunately the Polish and Hungarian governments have not given up their actions to undermine democracy and the rule of law. Their attacks against independent judges, journalists and minorities continue, and, as we have seen in the past, the EU’s efforts have so far been ineffective.

“I am aware that the European Commission is working on the guidelines for applying the new mechanism. Although the European Parliament is not convinced they are necessary, we demand that these guidelines are adopted as soon as possible and no later than 1 June 2021. Most importantly, the Commission must reassure us that these guidelines will not modify what was agreed. We need an efficient and successful mechanism! In particular we insist on its broad scope, which – as demanded by the Parliament – includes not only the fundamental values stated in article 2 of the treaty, but also breaches of judicial independence and fiscal fraud.

“If the Commission fails to act, the Parliament will consider whether to take legal measures against the Commission in the European Court of Justice.”

 

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