BRSSEL (dpa-AFX) – According to the EPP parliamentary group leader Manfred Weber, the European Parliament insists on an effective coupling of EU funds to compliance with the rule of law. Parliament will only approve the next budget framework and the Corona development package when this question has been concluded, said the CSU European politician and group leader of the European People’s Party on Monday in Brussels. “Nobody should doubt Parliament’s resolve.”
Parliament is currently negotiating the new rule of law mechanism with the EU states in connection with the next seven-year financial framework and the 750 billion program against the corona crisis. The German EU Council Presidency is urging a quick agreement so that the EUR 1.8 trillion package can come into force from January. Weber emphasized that time was now running out, not because of parliament. From the perspective of Parliament, the basis for a compromise should be the 2018 proposal by the EU Commission.
According to this, the Commission could reduce states’ funds if these principles such as freedom of the press or justice were disregarded – unless the Council of EU member states passes this by a qualified majority. Since some countries are against this proposal, the German Council Presidency had proposed a weakened form after a decision by the EU heads of state and government last week. However, this meets with opposition in Parliament.
European Minister of State Michael Roth (SPD) called on MPs on Monday on behalf of the German EU Council Presidency to a “constructive spirit of cooperation”. Regarding the German compromise proposal from last week, he said in the plenary session of parliament: “This is our offer for negotiations with you.” If he were to represent the German Federal Government, he could understand the displeasure of some – but as the Council Presidency he represents all EU countries.
The basis of the rule of law mechanism should include reports from the EU Commission from last week that examine the separation of powers, media diversity, justice and the fight against corruption in the 27 EU countries. A large part of the MPs welcomed the “constitutional TV” on Monday – but many MPs called for a wider scope. According to the SPD MP Tiemo Wlken, democracy and fundamental rights should also be examined.
The Green MP Sergey Lagodinsky spoke of a “step in the right direction”. But he also called for a wider scope. Liberal Sophie in’t Veld spoke of an “excellent report” by the EU Commission – but Parliament wanted to go one step further. On Tuesday, the MPs therefore want to vote on their own report on the rule of law.
The AfD MP Nikolaus Fest, however, described the planned mechanism as a lie. He criticized the EU for working with countries in Africa or Turkey, where the rule of law is bad.
EU Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova defended the reports from last week. These already had a “comprehensive scope,” she said./vsr/DP/fba