PES Europe ministers urge vigilance on the Rule of Law and fast implementation of the Recovery Plan

12/10/2020

PES GAC ministers meeting by videoconference

PES General Affairs Council videoconference

The EU is a community of values and every Member State must respect that, Europe ministers from the PES stated today as they met to coordinate ahead of tomorrow’s General Affairs Council (GAC).

Meeting by videoconference, the PES ministers warned that no government should attempt to leverage the recovery plan and MFF to weaken the Rule of Law. Any delay to the recovery would only deprive citizens of desperately needed support.

The ministers expressed strong concerns about backtracking on European values in the EU. Socialists and democrats will never accept ‘muzzle laws’, ‘LGBTI-free zones’, efforts to silence European Commissioners, or any other attempt to undermine the Rule of Law. The meeting backed the German Presidency’s push to establish a mechanism to systematically monitor the Rule of Law in all EU countries, thereby building up a comprehensive, fact-based and non-discriminatory picture across all Member States. This will be key to guarantee sound management of the EU budget.

Ministers agreed that the recovery plan must be implemented quickly to ensure bad economic forecasts are not realised and rising unemployment and poverty is counteracted. They welcomed that the Stability and Growth Pact’s general escape clause will remain active in 2021.

Meeting Chair and Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen, said:

“We want to see the fast implementation of the recovery plan to urgently revive our economies, but this must not come at the expense of the Rule of Law. We must achieve both. Therefore, we need a strong and functional Rule of Law mechanism that applies to both the multiannual financial framework and the recovery plan.

“It is our duty to ensure that every citizen lives in a society where the rights and values of the EU's Charter prevail. We remain vigilant on this. Our Union is a community built on the Rule of Law and all members must respect that.”

The meeting also discussed the ongoing EU-UK negotiations. Tytti Tuppurainen said:

“With the moment to reach a deal fast approaching, I urge the UK government to really commit to these negotiations. There has been positive movement in the last few weeks from the UK side, which socialists and democrats strongly welcome. An agreement is obviously not quite there yet, but it is within reach. Our political family hopes a deal can be secured and the UK will remain an ally and valued partner.”

The Europe ministers also discussed other issues on the agenda of the GAC and this week’s European Council. They expressed support for efforts to better coordinate Member States’ responses to COVID-19 and once again backed EU action for a more sustainable future. The ministers also reiterated their continued commitment to a strong EU-Africa partnership.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Tytti Tuppurainen, Chair and Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe, Germany
  • Hans Dahlgren, Minister for European Affairs, Sweden
  • 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 General, PES