The Civil Liberties and Legal Affairs committees questioned Didier Reynders, Belgian candidate for the Justice portfolio, on rule of law and modernising justice systems.
Political groups’ coordinators from the committees will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Commissioner-designate Reynders.
Rule of law mechanism, European arrest warrant and combatting corruption
During his introductory speech, Mr Reynders said that in his first year he will propose an “up and running” rule of law mechanism involving Parliament and Council, which will apply to all member states, with particular focus on those countries where risks have been identified. He referred to recent allegations made against him, underlining that the case has been dismissed and that “rule of law also means presumption of innocence.”
Other priorities mentioned by the Commissioner-designate were a possible review of the European arrest warrant, full support for setting up the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the swift adoption of the collective redress directive, trust and safety as an integral part of Artificial Intelligence policy and the full implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.
MEPs put forward several questions on the new rule of law mechanism, the ongoing Article 7 proceedings concerning Hungary and Poland and whether there should be action against other EU countries. They also asked about the Parliament’s right of initiative, human rights and environmental protection in commercial dealings, as well as holding multinationals to account.
Members also questioned the Commissioner-designate on the need to establish an EU strategy for combatting corruption and digitalising judicial systems in the EU.
EPP Group ready to work with Reynders
The EPP Group declared satisfied with the level of preparedness demonstrated by the Commissioner-designate for Justice, Didier Reynders, during his hearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Legal Affairs today (Wednesday).
“We asked Mr Reynders about things that really matter such as justice, citizens’ rights, consumer rights, Artificial Intelligence, the fight against corruption, and the rule of law. He gave clear answers and showed us that he has a good knowledge of his portfolio. Now it is up to the committee coordinators to decide, but the EPP Group is ready to work with Commissioner-designate for Justice, Didier Reynders, in the European Commission”, said EPP Group Vice-Chairman Esteban González Pons.
The joint hearing with Legal Affairs and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committees was chaired by Juan Fernando López Aguilar and Lucy Nethsingha. The Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee was associated to this hearing and therefore its members also took part.
Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.