Picture of definition of democracy
©-Tobias-Keckel

Press release


en | de | fr

Commission report shows urgent need for rule of law mechanism

Rule of law


Today, the European Commission has just published its Rule of Law Report, which looks at the situation across the EU Member States and highlights shortcomings such as failings in Hungary, Poland, and Malta. At a time when the Commission is already not acting on existing infringement procedures, for which there is a legal basis, they are not committing to new action on the rule of law. Today's report, however, stops short of recommendations and proposals for greater support for the rule of law. The Greens/EFA group are calling for a binding mechanism to protect the rule of law across all EU Member States as well as a rule of law conditionality to be tied to European funds through the long-term budget (MFF). The European Parliament will vote on a resolution next week calling for the "Establishment of an EU Mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights."

Sergey Lagodinsky MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the Binding Mechanism on the Rule of Law, to be voted on next week in plenary, comments:

"The EU-wide Commission report into the rule of law shows that the Commission is at least aware of the problems our Union faces. But awareness alone will not stop the continuous attacks on European values across the continent. For years, this crisis has snowballed before our eyes with little effective counter-action from Brussels. This report must be a building block for serious action and should spur the Commission on to widen its narrow scope of the democracy monitoring to include fundamental rights. The Commission must not use the publication of this report as an excuse to kick the can down the road when it comes to action on the strengthening of the rule of law in Europe.

"This Union will not survive unless every citizen is guaranteed equal civil rights without discrimination. The Commission must take on board the recommendations the Parliament is preparing for the joint mechanism for the rule of law, which we will vote on next week. This mechanism should include the Commission, Parliament and independent experts. This is the only way we can ensure that in future the findings are accurate and not politicized to the detriment of democracy. They should also be followed by action and not watered down in the Council, as the German Presidency's proposal on conditionality yesterday did."

Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield MEP, Greens/EFA rapporteur on the rule of law in Hungary, comments:

"This report does not go far enough to show that the Commission is prepared to put a stop to Viktor Orbán's systemic destruction of European values. President von der Leyen voiced concern about the situation in Hungary back in April but we have yet to see any decisive and concrete action against a decade of backsliding on the rule of law, media freedom and fundamental rights in Hungary.

"If the EU is to be serious on the rule of law we need action in the Council. European governments have so far shirked their responsibilities to act on the ongoing cases against the Hungarian and Polish governments. Unless we find a way to stand up to illiberal tactics of those who seek to undermine the rule of law then we may end up witnessing the end of democracy in several EU countries at the same time. There is no magic tool to restore the rule of law, but there are a number of complementary instruments that need to be fully utilised and we also need political courage from the Council and the Commission.”

More:
The Commission's report is available here.
With country specific chapters available here.