Law is in the air: Justice systems of certain Member States face recent reforms that threaten fundamental European values such as democracy and the rule of law, leading to a deterioration in the relationship between the EU and those Member States. How should the EU tackle this crisis while protecting the values and rights of the EU and the citizens in relevant Member States?

Submitted by: Yonis Ali (NL), Jet van Beekhoff (NL), Alexander Bos (NL), Sofia Dobrovitskaya (NL), Mira Faltermeier (CH), Sebastiaan Johannes Baptist Petrus Franken (NL), Sudenaz Kalkan (NL), Jurgen Jan Pels (NL), Olaf Scheepers (NL), Rebekah Tewelde (NL), Stella Imo (Chairperson, DE)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Deeply concerned by the negative development in Hungary and in Poland due to:
    1. political narratives in Poland and Hungary being twisted to suit their own campaigns,
    2. minorities being treated badly by the government, 
  2. Acknowledging the financial significance of the EU to Poland and Hungary, with the Member States being among the largest beneficiaries of EU funding,
  3. Bearing in mind the interest of the European Union as a whole to keep Poland and Hungary as Member States because of:
    1. willingness to keep all Member States within the Union,
    2. Member States valuing a friendly relationship with Poland and Hungary,
    3. 87% of Polish and 85% of Hungarian citizens being pro-EU,
  4. Gravely concerned about the judicial reforms in Member States that cause:
    1. increasing political influence inside the judicial system undermining the separation of power,
    2. questioning the supremacy of EU law, 
  5. Aware of the possible attack on the integrity of EU laws due to:
    1. the EU not acting against Poland and Hungary after repeatedly breaking EU laws,
    2. the ineffectiveness of Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU)1 Article 7 of the TEU is a mechanism to hold governments accountable whose actions threaten European values. ,
    3. the lack of clarity in the term ‘rule of law’2The rule of law is a set of principles, or ideals, for ensuring an orderly and just society such as the equality of everyone before court.,
  6. Concerned by the failure of the European Commission to effectively and consistently apply punitive measures, such as the rule of law conditionality mechanism3The rule of law mechanism enables  the European Commission to stop payments to Member States which do not respect the rule of law. ,
  7. Concerned by the penalties against Hungary and Poland applied by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), especially in terms of:
    1. potential to affect the citizens in unintended ways,  
    2. not changing the behaviour of uncooperative Member States such as Poland or Hungary,
  8. Deploring the high degree of corruption in Poland and Hungary that poses the potential risk of EU funding being used privately by corrupt officeholders;
  1. Encourages all Member States to take legal action against governments of other Member States who infringe upon EU law by approaching the CJEU when considered necessary;
  2. Requests the European Commission to refine Article 2 of the TEU 4Article 2 of the TEU contains the principles the EU is based on (human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights). to more clearly define rule of law to improve the consistency of national legislative processes;
  3. Asks the European Commision to increase the budget of the CJEU as to increase capacities and therefore to further increase effectiveness;
  4. Calls upon the European Commission to approach the CJEU to raise fines for infringement procedures in order to have a stronger impact on Member States breaking the law;
  5. Encourages the European Commission to continue applying the rule of law conditionality mechanism during the ongoing investigation in the CJEU;
  6. Invites the European Commission to advise the communications departments of all EU institutions to increase transparency in legal and bureaucratic processes by:
    1. setting up easily accessible and objective overviews of current European political matters for European citizens on the official website of the EU,
    2. creating visual media explaining laws and political matters in the EU, on an understandable level in order to reach a broader audience;
  7. Instructs the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to investigate the corruption taking place in Member States such as Poland and Hungary in order to create more transparency in the governments of the respective Member States;
  8. Further requests the European Commission to encourage the Venice Commission 5The Venice Commission is an advisory board of the Council of Europe for matters on constitutional law, composed of independent experts. to investigate Parliamentary procedures such as Article 7 of the TEU and its effectiveness;
  9. Urges the European Commission to increase funding for independent international human rights organisations such as ‘Human Rights Watch’ in order to shed light upon EU laws being broken in Member States.