Transparency International EU has hailed as “historic” the preliminary agreement on making the reception of EU funds conditional upon respect for the rule of law. This is the first time there has been a link between the EU budget and upholding the values and principles of Article 2 of the EU’s founding Treaty. The anti-corruption watchdog has been calling for this mechanism since 2017.
“This is a breakthrough of historic proportions, given the recent stalemate and the entrenched views on this issue. This new instrument will be crucial in addressing the deterioration of the rule of law which we have witnessed in some Member States, such as Hungary and Poland,” said Nick Aiossa, Deputy Director of Transparency International EU. “It is now up to the Commission and Council to utilise this strong new rule of law tool to counter threats to Union values and to protect the rule of law.”
The European Commission’s proposal for a “Regulation to protect the Union’s budget in the event of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in Member States” is the only chance it has to remedy its failed attempts to protect European values in the face of rising threats to democracy across the union.
The mechanism will have a scope that covers several areas, including corruption and an independent judiciary and may be triggered by the Council approving a Commission proposal through qualified majority voting.
The new regulation will come into force at the beginning of next year.