PES Europe ministers: the rule of law and the recovery both need to be upheld

07/12/2020

PES Europe Ministers

PES Europe Ministers meeting by videoconference

The continued refusal of the right-wing governments in Hungary and Poland to endorse the MFF and Next Generation EU must neither lead to a watering down of the rule of law, nor jeopardise the recovery efforts, Europe ministers from the PES warned today. Europe is on the brink of profound institutional deadlock which will dash the hopes of millions of people hoping for a recovery from the economic and social crisis caused by Covid-19.

Meeting Chair, Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering in Finland, Tytti Tuppurainen said:

“I urge the governments of Hungary and Poland to keep in mind that the recovery is at risk, not just for Member States but for their own citizens. They must see the damage this virus has caused, and the importance of respecting the fundamental values of democracy and the rule of law. I hope that Prime Minister Morawiecki and Prime Minister Orban can find a way to do the right thing finally.

“The Rule of Law is a fundamental European value, it is a foundational element of the EU project that cannot be sacrificed. No Member State will allow it to be ignored for domestic political advantage or to allow injustices to go unpunished.

“The German Presidency has committed to finding a solution and we appreciate the great effort they are making. Socialists and democrats are committed to this recovery. We are committed to the Rule of Law.”

Progressive ministers met online today to coordinate ahead of tomorrow’s General Affairs Council. Under discussion: the MFF, recovery package and Rule of Law conditionality; the Covid-19 pandemic; climate change; relations with Turkey; and, EU-UK negotiations.

The Ministers discussed the continuing Covid-19 situation and expressed hope that a vaccine will be approved and distributed soon.

The meeting also welcomed the continued drive for a must sustainable Europe, led by European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans under the European Green Deal. They agreed that new emissions targets are a significant step forward for meeting the climate challenge and Europe’s ambition to be a global leader in this area. They agreed to support the EU to make every effort to achieve a good outcome at the COP 15 international meeting next year.

On relations with Turkey, the meeting restated its concerns about Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and backed the call for a multilateral conference made by the EU Council in October. The ministers agreed that dialogue is key to resolving this situation.

The meeting also exchanged on Brexit and noted with concern that no agreement had been reached between the EU and UK. The PES remains hopeful that the negotiations will conclude successfully. Although no deal will be possible unless the UK commits to a level playing field.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Tytti Tuppurainen, Chair, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Ales Chmelar, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Czech Republic
  • Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Malta
  • Ana Paula Zacarias, State Secretary for European Affairs, Portugal
  • Hans Dahlgren, Minister for European Affairs, Sweden
  • Iratxe Garcia Perez MEP, President of the S&D Group, European Parliament
  • Pedro Marques MEP, S&D and PES Coordinator for the implementation of our progressive Commission Work Programme, S&D Group and PES
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary Generals, PES