Negotiators from the European Parliament, Commission and Council have just agreed on a deal on an EU rule of law mechanism. The mechanism will provide a link between the EU budget and compliance with the rule of law in the member states. If an EU government violates democracy and the rule of law, the European Commission can impose financial sanctions. These must be confirmed by the Council.
Terry Reintke MEP, Greens/EFA rapporteur on the opinion on the rule of law mechanism for the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, comments:
"Finally, we have a deal on a rule of law mechanism. This mechanism is not as strong as the European Parliament wanted and it will be a challenge, but we can make it work. The Parliament will keep the pressure up to defend the rule of law.
"EU funds need to be linked to the rule of law so we are not giving a carte blanche to illiberal actors to take away peoples' rights. This agreement is not perfect, but it lays the foundations for action against member states that are attacking democracy and the rule of law. Now, member states will no longer be able to hide their inaction on the rule of law, they will need to act, even when it's difficult."
Daniel Freund MEP, Greens/EFA negotiator from the Budgetary Control Committee, comments:
"For the first time in Europe, we now have a mechanism that links the disbursement of EU funds to compliance with the rule of law. This is a step forward for the protection of European values. The mechanism is not as powerful as we in the European Parliament would have liked. But: the compromise is much stronger than what the German Council Presidency presented a few weeks ago.
"Now, member states must prove that this sanctions mechanism can also be applied. The European rule of law is in a deep crisis. The current developments in Poland and Hungary show this in a depressing way. We must now react decisively – including with sanctions against member states. The value of this mechanism will be measured by how quickly and effectively it will be applied."