Debate in the EP on a monitoring mechanism of the rule of law and fundamental rights

11.12.2015 | European Parliament
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Debate in the EP on a monitoring mechanism of the rule of law and fundamental rights

A structured dialogue with Vera Jourová, EU Commissioner of Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality was on the agenda of the December 10th meeting of the LIBE committee, as well as a public hearing on a monitoring mechanism of the situation of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the European Union. 

As it is stated in the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law are not only essential common values in the Member States, but also EU principles, the respect of which is mandatory. Article 7 of the TEU includes the possibility of a double procedure of prevention and sanctioning, for cases where there is a clear risk that a Member Sate violates these principles. 

In the absence of an objective mechanism accepted by every member state, the EU has not yet made use of the possibility provided by Article 7. For this reason, The European Parliament has asked the LIBE committee to contribute to the creation of such a mechanism for monitoring the situation of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights by elaborating an own initiative legislative report on the matter. The December 10th hearing laid the ground work for the preparation of the own initiative legislative report. 

Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission and experts from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Venice Commission were present at the hearing. Regarding the issue of evaluating the situation of the rule of law Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission, Simona Granata-Menghini stated: since the rule of law is not a static state but a dynamic process showing an ever-changing outlook, all Member States must continuously strive to meet these requirements. 

That is why there is a need to constantly monitor the state of rule of law in the Member States and in the EU. Senior Legal Advisor of the Agency for Fundamental Rights, Gabriel Toggenburg stressed that in the process of elaborating a common fundamental rights monitoring mechanism the use of a common set of indicators should be used based on the standards of the EU, the UN and the Council of Europe.

In his speech Csaba Sógor pointed out that the European Union ought to protect the rights of the indigenous national minorities that have been living in the same area for many centuries, and who still suffer significant disadvantages due to their mother tongue or ethnic or religious belonging. The RMDSZ MEP called on the European Commission's representative to assert how we can act against any violations of a Member State against national minorities.