New budget mechanism is a victory for EU values

06/11/2020

Court building

Sustained efforts by the Socialists and Democrats has ensured Rule of Law conditionality will be included in the Multiannual Financial Framework for the first time. This is a victory for the progressive fight to defend the EU’s fundamental values, the Party of European Socialists said today.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“Members States breaching EU fundamental values will now face further consequences. This is a success for the Socialists and Democrats, who have been pushing for this for some time. But more than that, it is a victory for democracy and the Rule of Law in Europe.

“For the progressive political family, the EU has always been a union of values and any government which seeks to undermine that must necessarily be sanctioned.  This agreement strengthens our ability to do that.

“I want to congratulate all those involved in the negotiations for working constructively to reach this agreement on a pressing timescale. It was not easy, but it is a major step forward for Europe and for everyone fighting to defend its values.”

Following hard negotiation with the EU Council, which began three weeks ago, the Parliament and the Council finally reached an agreement this morning to introduce a new robust mechanism linking the EU budget to respect for European values.

Tough negotiating from progressives has ensured strong protections for the Rule of Law and democracy in Europe. The PES welcomes the scope of the agreement, which references EU values, fundamental rights, constitutional justice, judicial independence, as well as tax fraud and evasion.

Under the agreement, offending governments – not innocent beneficiaries – will be affected by the mechanism. Progressives have ensured that researchers, recipients of grants and businesses will not be hit by the consequences of a government’s breach.

The decision to invoke the mechanism will be made by qualified majority and not unanimity, as under article 7. This is a very welcome move which means sanctions can be put in place quickly and efficiently.