Commission needs strong support on rule of law, says ETUC

Commenting on the European Commission’s Rule of Law report ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said

“The European Union is supposed to be a union of democratic countries where the rule of law is supreme – yet the rule of law is being undermined in a number of countries, and firm action is needed to re-establish it.

“The rule of law report is supposed to feed into a wider debate, and needs to lead to infringement procedures and other penalties.  Yet this is not easy for the European Union given its decision-making set up. The people who are undermining the rule of law can also block the EU from deciding to enforce it.  Already we see the difficulties of linking EU funding to respect for the rule of law.

“I urge the Governments and MEPs from the majority of countries that support the rule of law to put their weight behind the efforts of the European Commission to guarantee the rule of law across the EU. Ultimately EU funding must be made conditional on respect for the rule of law – and this applies to companies as well as member states. We want and fully support the proposed ‘comprehensive European rule of law mechanism’. The European Commission needs political support for it to succeed. 

“It would help if the EU speeded up its accession to the Council of Europe’s European Convention of Human Rights and the European Social Charter.

“The first Rule of Law annual report is useful but concentrates on only a few aspects of the rule of law.  They are important areas like judicial independence and media pluralism, but there are other areas which are not even mentioned such as workers’ and trade union rights, which we know are being flouted in many countries and contrary to a range of European and national laws. The same is true for human rights, environmental rights and social rights.”

Photo credit: European Parliament 

EU Rule of Law
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