Rule of Law

27 Sep: Censorship through litigation.

Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team. 

Despite international conventions and European legislation promoting, and protecting, freedom of expression and of pluralistic media, there are increasing concerns over the use of certain legal instruments to restrict transparency. Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) are now being routinely used against citizens and public watchdogs to stifle freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, within the European Union. 

The American term ‘SLAPP’ refers to the quashing of criticism and political debate through the manipulation and transformation of a public dispute into a private legal case – where the defendants …

01 Jul: Rule of Law: start applying budget conditionality immediately

(Source: European Parliament)

Guidelines currently being developed by the Commission are not necessarySituation in some member states warrants immediate launch of investigations

The budget conditionality regulation does not require any additional clarification to be applied and rule of law breaches must be addressed without delay, say MEPs.

In a resolution adopted by the Budget and Budgetary Control committees on Thursday with 53 votes 11 against and 2 abstentions, MEPs regret that the Commission has decided to abide by the non-binding December 2020 European Council conclusions and delay application of the budget conditionality regulation.

Guidelines should not restrict the law

They stress that the …

28 Jun: Double standards on human rights

Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team 

Human rights and democracy are not “European” nor “Western” principles but universal values to which all UN members subscribe. However, within European affairs, and Europe’s desire for increased recognition, influence and trade, contradictions in its policies, especially regarding its commitment to human rights are becoming more and more evident. As a result, and noted in the recent publication of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, whilst proactive steps forward have been made, there has also been a pushback against human rights. The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and …

17 Jun: Reassurance needed to accompany Recovery and Resilience

Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team 

Europe’s current buzz words are “recovery” and “resilience” – two words now synonymous with the pandemic. The European Commission has developed a Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for its 27 Member States and has called on them to prepare their submission for financing – funding which will directly support their exit from the health crisis. 

The Facility is a substantial amount – €672.5 billion – to support investments and reforms – €312.5 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans. The financial allocations to Member States are complex but mainly …

10 Jun: Rule of Law: Parliament prepares to sue Commission for failure to act

(Source: European Parliament)

Growing risk of member states misusing EU fundsMEPs urge the Commission to act swiftly in the application of the conditionality regulationParliament shall immediately start the necessary preparations for potential court proceedings

MEPs instruct EP President Sassoli to call on the Commission, within two weeks at the latest, to “fulfil its obligations” under the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday with 506 votes in favour, 150 against and 28 abstentions, MEPs note that the new conditionality instrument to protect the EU budget has been in force since 1 January 2021 and also applies …

03 Jun: Assessing the Commission’s 2020 Rule of Law report

(Source: European Parliament)

MEPs take stock of developments and propose ways to improve the EC’s approach moving forward, with an eye set on the upcoming 2021 report on the rule of law in the EU.

The Civil Liberties Committee approved the own-initiative report by Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D, ES) on the Commission’s 2020 Rule of Law report on Thursday with 49 votes for, 10 against and 4 abstentions. It highlights areas for improvement, and sets out Parliaments priorities and concerns in protecting EU values.

Lessons from 2020

MEPs regret that the 2020 report fails to encompass fully Article 2 values, and that the Commission did not …

10 May: Joint Statement – EU-India Leaders’ Meeting, 8 May 2021

(Source: EU Consilium) 

Joint Statement – EU-India Leaders’ Meeting, 8 May 2021

We, the leaders of the European Union (EU) and its Member States and India, met in hybrid format on 8 May 2021 in Porto. The meeting today highlighted our shared interests, principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights, which underpin our Strategic Partnership.

Full text of the Joint Statement of EU-India Leaders’ meeting  …