MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS (AFCO)
Pacta sunt servanda: According to Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, aimed at ensuring compliance with basic European values in all Member States, a breach of European law can only be determined by a unanimous vote of the EU’s heads of state and government. Given the lengthiness of the Article 7 procedure and the possibility of alliances among Member States, how can the EU enforce its basic values?
Submitted by: Yonis Ahmedali, Catalina Anneese, Bobby Blaauw, Anne Groenewegen, Yasumi Meijer, Sophie Roelfsema, Laurence Verbree, Laura van Zonneveld, Sebastian Ohlig (Chairperson, DE)
The European Youth Parliament,
- Bearing in mind that the rule of law, as laid out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), is a fundamental EU value,
- Concerned by the lack of a shared legal framework on defining ‘rule of law’ in the European Union,
- Reiterating Member States’ right to adopt national legislation and the conflicts arising out of the subsidiarity principle,1The subsidiarity principle, as laid out in Article 5 TEU, states that legislation adopted at the lowest-possible level.
- Alarmed by developments in Member States such as Poland, where, in a ruling, the Constitutional Tribunal recently questioned the very legal foundations of the EU,
- Acknowledging that the EU’s mechanism for defending its fundamental values, as it is laid out in Article 7 TEU, has proven inadequate,
- Conscious that, in the past, alliances between Member States have blocked EU attempts in line with Article 7 TEU to hold said Member States accountable for violations of EU fundamental values,
- Observing the rejection of the idea of withholding EU funds in response to breaches of EU fundamental values by several EU Member States,
- Noting the ongoing debate on introducing a ‘Copenhagen Mechanism’;2The concept of a Copenhagen Mechanism refers to the possibility of an EU-wide supervisory and monetary mechanism, tracking the rule of law in Member States and with the power to freeze national practices.
- Calls upon the European Commission to establish a multi-stakeholder working group tasked with developing an EU-wide consensual definition of the term ‘rule of law’;
- Reminds Member States of the legal precedents establishing the primacy of European over national law;
- Urges the European Council to increase the public perception of the transparency of the Article 7 process;
- Requests the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) to:
- conduct a study examining the advantages of a reform of the Rule of Law Mechanism in the TEU,
- devise possible areas of reform in the TEU;
- Further request the European Council to, dependent on the results of the aforementioned study, amend Article 7 TEU following the legal guidelines set forth in Article 48 TEU for such processes;
- Encourages the European Commission to partially restrict the dispensation of EU funding in response to Member States’ violations of European values, in particular the rule of law, whilst:
- targeting the respective Member States’ governments, not populations,
- setting the scale of the sanction according to the severity of the breach;
- Calls upon the European Commission to guarantee accountability and transparency in supplying funding;
- Calls upon Directorate General for Budget (DG BUDG) to ensure no EU funds are being utilised to finance operations in conflict with European values;
- Calls upon the Directorate General for Justice and Consumer (DG JUST) to further expand its existing mechanisms for a review of the state of Rule of Law in Member States;
- Calls upon the European Commission to create an independent expert group tasked with:
- looking into the feasibility of implementing a neutral intra-EU evaluation of the status of European values in Member States,
- investigating the advantages of and steps required for a ‘Copenhagen Mechanism’ system.