Wed. May 18th, 2022

Strasbourg, 10 March 2022

  • “High time” for the Commission to protect the EU budget from violations of rule of law
  • EU legislation should be implemented regardless of electoral timetables in member states
  • The Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism should also cover the NextGenerationEU funds

The European Commission must take urgent action and immediately apply the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism by notifying the member states concerned in writing.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday by 478 votes to 155 and 29 abstentions, MEPs welcomed the European Court of Justice’s recent judgement dismissing the actions by Hungary and Poland against the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation, as well as the Court’s conclusions that the regulation is in line with EU law and its powers as regards rule of law.

Parliament stresses that it is “high time” for the Commission to fulfil its duties as the guardian of the EU Treaties and react to the ongoing violations of the principles of the rule of law in some EU member states, which pose a danger to the European Union’s financial interests.

Inaction towards oligarchic structures weakens the entire European Union, says the text, insisting that taxpayers’ money needs to be protected against those who undermine the EU’s values.

MEPs consider the Commission’s response to the ECJ rulings of 16 February 2022 “inadequate” and underline that the Commission has a duty to implement EU legislation “regardless of electoral timetables in the member states”.

The resolution notes that, in October 2021, Parliament launched an action against the Commission over its failure to apply the regulation and for its attempt to “play for time”. MEPs stress that the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism should be applied to both the European Union budget and to the funds of the NextGenerationEU package.

Background

The budget conditionality regulation entered into force on 1 January 2021, but the Commission has so far failed to apply it. On 11 March 2021, Poland and Hungary challenged the regulation in the EU Court of Justice. The Court ruled on 16 February, dismissing both appeals.