MEPs called upon the Commission to set up a binding mechanism that would guarantee the respect for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Member States. As a Hungarian from Romania Csaba Sógor stated: this may be the greatest practical contribution the European Parliament ever made in order to develop a framework for the European Union that would make the Copenhagen Criteria – including on securing the rights of national minorities – binding in case of Member States that already joined the EU.
During the Tuesday plenary session of the EP, Members of the European Parliament debated and voted on the Report with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. In the opinion of RMDSZ MEP Csaba Sógor implementing such a mechanism would be an important step in representing the interests of Hungarians in Transylvania as well. "I support the introduction of this monitoring mechanism, and I think it is very important we succeeded to include references on national minorities in the report" – explained the MEP.
At MEP Csaba Sógor’s initiative, the adopted document contains a paragraph stating that, 8% of European citizens belong to a national minority and 10% of them speak a minority or regional language, yet there is no framework monitoring the infringements upon minority rights. At the proposal of MEP Sógor, the document also refers to the minority protection documents of the Council of Europe and stresses that equal treatment is not a privilege but a basic right of minorities.
There would be no need for a mechanism considering that during the accession negotiations candidate states agreed to guarantee fundamental human rights, including the rights of minorities. After accession, however, we can see serious backsliding in many Member States, and the monitoring reports of the Council of Europe or the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have no consequences either without a binding mechanism of enforcement – argued Csaba Sógor during the plenary debate for the need to implementing the mechanism. He also stressed that the EU – fearing the reaction of its Member States – did not deal at all with the obvious violations, which are unfortunately quite common in Europe. "We hope that this mechanism will be the beginning of a new era based on the principle that EU citizens should enjoy the same rights throughout the Union" - said the Hungarian MEP.