For two years the Socialists and Democrats have been fighting for an efficient mechanism that will make access to funds from the EU budget conditional on respecting the rule of law and EU fundamental values. After a difficult negotiation with the EU Council, which only started three weeks ago because the Council blocked any progress for two years, the Parliament and the Council finally reached an agreement this morning on a new mechanism.
The leader of the S&D Group, Iratxe García MEP, said:
“It has been a long fight but we have ensured a good outcome. It is clear that article 7 of the treaty is not working as it should and that we need a different tool to ensure that our shared values are respected.
“So today we can celebrate a victory for the European Union as a community of shared principles, such as human dignity, freedom, equality, rule of law and human rights. Protecting these values is also a priority for our citizens and I’m happy that we will be able to deliver.
“This brings us one step closer to finalising the MFF negotiations, something that our citizens also expect from us in these difficult times.”
S&D MEP Eider Gardiazabal, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the Parliament, added:
“The agreement includes a broad scope, as demanded by the Parliament: not only the fundamental values stated in article 2 of the treaty, but also breaches of judicial independence and fiscal fraud.
“We also made sure that any potential sanctions for a member state will not affect the ultimate beneficiaries of EU funds. Researchers, recipients of grants or businesses should all know that they won’t be hit by the consequences of their government’s breach.
“This mechanism will be effective because the adoption of sanctions will be decided by qualified majority, and not unanimity as set out in article 7. A deadline will also be introduced so that the Council cannot just put the decision on hold without a time limit.”