The Union's budget and the rule of law

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EESK atzinums: The Union's budget and the rule of law

The EESC welcomes the proposal for economic corrective measures regarding Member States that commit serious violations of the rule of law in Europe, and recommends that the interdependence between democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law is better reflected.  The Commission should develop further channels for debate on Article 2 TEU values, and should include the EESC in this work. The EESC reiterates its call for the creation of a system of regular and independent monitoring of the implementation of these values in the Member States.


Key points

  • The EESC welcomes the Commission proposal for a regulation creating a new tool that would allow for economic corrective measures with regard to Member States that commit serious and persistent violations of the values listed in Article 2 TEU. The EESC also welcomes the fact that implementing acts proposed by the Commission under this regulation would be adopted by reverse qualified majority voting in the Council.
  • The EESC recommends that the proposal be amended to include a broader notion of the rule of law that encompasses the protection of fundamental rights and guarantees protecting pluralist democracy. The rule of law exists in an interdependent, inseparable, triangular relationship with fundamental rights and democracy. Only by guaranteeing these three values in conjunction with each other is it possible to prevent the abuse of state power.
  • The EESC insists that the mechanism proposed by the Commission should be activated automatically where a generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law risks affecting the EU's financial interests.
  • Furthermore, the EESC recommends that the proposal be amended to allow the Commission to propose an implementing act of the regulation in cases where there is a serious, persistent and systemic threat to the rule of law, fundamental rights or standards guaranteeing pluralist democracy.
  • The EESC encourages the Commission, as a preventive measure, to further develop channels for political debate on Article 2 values in the Member States. The EESC also urges the Commission to propose the creation of a system of regular and independent monitoring of the implementation of these values in the Member States, along the lines previously suggested by the EESC and the European Parliament.
  • The EESC recommends that it be included among the bodies that the Commission will keep informed of measures proposed or adopted under this legislation, and that it be specifically named among the relevant sources of information for the purposes of the Commission's determination as to the existence of a serious deficiency as regards the rule of law.