European Union Must Do More to Protect the Rule of Law and Fight against Corruption in the EU

The European Parliament committee for civil liberties, justice and home affairs backed a report calling for the EU to do more ensure the rule of law is protected in all EU member states and that more is done to crack down on corruption. The report calls for the creation of a specific mechanism to monitor the rule of law situation in each EU member state.

The vote came on the same day as the EU General Affairs Council, made up of the European affairs ministers from all EU member states, met to discuss progress on Article 7 procedures against Hungary and Poland for systemic threats to the rule of law in both countries.

S&D Group vice-president responsible for the report, Josef Weidenholzer said:

“In the last two years, journalists were killed in three EU member states. These murders shocked Europe. Investigative journalists play a vital role in our societies, exposing wrong doing and ensuring those in power are accountable. It is essential that those responsible for these horrific murders be brought to justice. It is important that both Malta and Slovakia are cooperating closely with Europol to investigate these crimes.

“It is important that the European Parliament continue to work closely on issues of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the next mandate. Sending ad-hoc delegations from the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee can be an important tool to monitor the situation on the ground and send a clear message that Europe will act when fundamental rights are at stake in any EU country.”       

S&D spokesperson for civil liberties, justice and home affairs Birgit Sippel said:

“We need to be vigilant across Europe about protecting the rule of law and fighting against corruption. We urge national governments to stop blocking progress on Article 7 procedures against the Hungarian and Polish governments. The EU needs to show it can act when basic tenants of EU membership are under threat in a member state.

“It is ironic that MEPs from the centre-right EPP say they want real action to protect the rule of law in Europe but then also attempted to block any reference to the Hungarian and Polish governments in this report. These two governments are the ones facing procedures for consistent and systemic threats to the rule of law, not mentioning them shows the EPP group is not serious about protecting fundamental EU values but instead is trying to score political points.”