The design of the mechanism for making European Union funds dependent on the rule of law cannot be sacrificed at the EU summit to reach agreement on the EU budget, ” said Vera Jourova, deputy head of the European Commission. – This budget is not just money. These are also rules – she added.
The deputy head of the European Commission was asked at a press conference on Thursday about the resolution adopted by the Hungarian parliament on the reconstruction plan and the EU budget. As a condition for the adoption of the European Union budget, Hungarian MPs demand, among other things, the closure of all procedures under Article 7 of the EU Treaty and emphasize that EU funding cannot be made dependent on the rule of law.
“The European Commission is ready to defend its proposal”
Vera Jourova was asked whether EU leaders should devote it to reaching agreement on the EU budget due to their opposition to the mechanism’s dependence on the rule of law. The decision on the EU’s multiannual financial framework requires unanimity.
This budget is not just money. It’s also rules. (…) The European Commission is ready to defend its proposal – Jourova replied. She emphasized that principles are an essential part of the budget and existential for Europeans.
Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders added that the Article 7 procedure against Hungary was launched by the European Parliament. He also said that the European Commission spoke to the German Presidency about the procedures under Article 7 and the possibility of organizing hearings under this Article.
He added that there must be a mechanism in the EU budget and the reconstruction fund that makes access to EU funds conditional on the rule of law. – Of course, the most difficult issue is, of course, and we think that the best solution is to use an inverted qualified majority if you want to be effective. However, it is in the hands of the European Council that this is discussed – he said.
Jourova: The EC is working on a new preventive rule of law tool
Linking funds to the rule of law is one of the topics of the EU summit
At the EU summit on the future EU budget and reconstruction fund starting on Friday, one of the topics will be the mechanism for linking funds with the rule of law. The proposal is controversial and it is difficult to assess what shape it will eventually take.
Last week at a conference in Brussels, the head of the European Council Charles Michel announced that as a result of consultations with the states he upheld the proposal for a mechanism to link EU funds with the rule of law.
According to Michel’s proposal, the European Commission will be the party initiating and supervising the procedure used in the event of a threat to funds, however, the final application of disciplinary measures will be decided by the Member States.
This proposal is milder than previously proposed by the European Commission, because it provides that a decision on possible sanctions will require the gathering of a qualified majority of Member States. In the meantime, the Commission proposed that it be the so-called reverse qualified majority, which would mean the need to find the right number of countries not to adopt the decision, but to reject it.
Van der Leyen on the rule of law: there will be no compromisesEBS / TVN24 BiS
The Belgian, however, argues that he proposed “a strong link between EU funds and respect for the rule of law”. Last week, he announced that he would also propose to the Member States that the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors report violations of the rule of law that affect the implementation of the European Union budget, also as regards Article 7 of the EU Treaty. Michel’s project assumes that such reports would be submitted annually. According to unofficial information from the Polish Press Agency, this record may cause resistance from some EU capitals.
It remains an open question in what situations in the EU this mechanism would be triggered. At the beginning of July, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen informed that the mechanism of making the payment of EU funds dependent on respect for the rule of law is to protect the EU against the misuse of EU funds, is in the interest of the entire “27” and is not directed against specific countries.