UE – Nuovo meccanismo di controllo della rule of law: un passo in avanti imperfetto

Intervento di Barbara Spinelli nel corso della Riunione del Gruppo GUE/NGL. Bruxelles, 19 ottobre 2016.

Punto in Agenda:

  • in ‘t VELD Report on “Establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights” – short information

Barbara Spinelli è intervenuta in qualità di Relatrice ombra, per il Gruppo GUE/NGL, della Relazione “recante raccomandazioni alla Commissione sull’istituzione di un meccanismo dell’UE in materia di democrazia, Stato di diritto e diritti fondamentali” (Relatore Sophie in ‘t Veld – ALDE), che sarà discussa e votata nel corso della Sessione Plenaria di ottobre (Strasburgo, 24-27 ottobre 2016).

I will try to explain why I recommend a positive vote on this report, even if it is in my opinion a partially lame report, and not the innovative Pact on democracy it pretends to be.

I begin with its positive elements: such a Pact is currently absent in the Union. Rule of law criteria are used for accession countries, but once you have entered the club you get a sort of impunity: it’s the so-called dilemma of the Copenhagen criteria. The new mechanism is good news, in times of vast erosion of the constitutional democracies in the Union. It has been shaped as a procedure which puts human rights at its core, and formalises a permanent and non-punitive monitoring of the Member States regarding the respect of rule of law and fundamental rights. The process will be handled by a panel of independent experts and will avail itself, to a large extent, of the cooperation of the civil society and NGOs. We managed to restrict the role of the European Commission (as proposed during the shadow meetings) and, most important, to avoid the Commission being the chair of the expert panel.

Negative elements: due to the pressure of the EPP, which had a pivotal role in the negociations, the original version of the Rapporteur has been considerably watered down. The most negative element is the almost complete lack of a strict control of the European institutions – a control similar to the one provided for the Member States. We insisted to have this aspect introduced, and we succeeded in having the institutions clearly mentioned. But all procedure concerning them is not scrupulous and binding as for the Member States, and the institutions will be part of the Pact only “if they wish”: as an “option”. The amendments we will table reintroduce such monitoring: non only of the three institutions but of all institutions and bodies, Eurogroup included. Another element we couldn’t impose is the possibility for the Court of Justice to intervene in decisions adopted under article 7 TEU. I have tabled an amendment on that.

In conclusion: the mechanism is certainly useful, but will only partially address the issue that it is intended to handle with: the article 7, still considered as a deliberately inapplicable “nuclear option”.

The Member States are the main transgressors of fundamental rights, but what the citizen resent most today is the impunity and unaccountability of the powers that be in Brussels. The opportunity to meet the challenge of such mistrust has partly been wasted.

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