Today, with the approval of the ´Protection of the Union´s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States´ report, the plenary of the European Parliament sent a clear message to all governments and political forces that believe in a ‘Europe à la carte’ where one can profit from the European funds on one hand while disregarding completely respect for European values and the rule of law on the other.
S&D rapporteur, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, said:
“The EU is not a business club; it is primarily a Union of common values and principles. Fiscal justice is also a value we need to preserve. It has a direct impact on the financial interests of the EU. Punishing only the breaching of rule of law is not sufficient. Hence, we managed to include tax evasion and tax competition as a harmful practice against the Union’s budget.
“The respect of our common values is the pillar upon which we built the European project. No government can violate these values without suffering the consequences.
“At the same time, it is essential that the new mechanism changes the behaviour of the respective member state and its government entities and does not punish the European citizens. Therefore, the protection of the final beneficiaries was key for us from the very beginning of the negotiations. The introduction of an additional ‘safety net’, strongly advocated for by the S&D, will now allow for direct mobilisation of the payments to the benefit of the final beneficiaries by the European Commission, in case the respective members state/government entities do not follow its legal obligation to make the payments.”
S&D shadow rapporteur for the budgetary control committee, Inés Ayala Sender, added:
“The European Parliament is responsible for controlling that the EU budget is spent in a regular manner and that it serves the EU objectives. In cases of breaches of the rule of law, it can be questionable whether or not EU funds are efficiently serving the Union’s objectives and being properly controlled. The Parliament cannot turn a blind eye and engage its responsibility unconditionally.”