The Constitutional Affairs and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committees questioned Věra Jourová, Czech Vice President-designate for Values and Transparency.
Political groups’ coordinators from the committees will meet later today to assess the performance of Vice President-designate Jourová.
Rule of law, fundamental rights and transparency
During her introductory speech, Věra Jourová stated that her portfolio is “about Europe’s soul and the challenges that Europe is facing, internally and externally” and that she will “try to build bridges across the European Union based on our common values”.
MEPs asked questions on threats to media freedom, ranging from physical violence to abusive litigation. Potential measures mentioned by the Vice President-designate included anti-censorship legislation, as well as legal and financial aid for those facing rule of law violations.
The Vice President-designate was also asked about protecting the rule of law in general, whether she will commit to addressing constitutional imbalances, independence of the judiciary issues, and the shrinking space for civil society. Further, the hearing focused on ongoing Article 7 proceedings, as well as the need for a permanent monitoring mechanism for all member states.
On democracy, Ms Jourová spoke of her support for enhancing European electoral processes, for example by revisiting the Spitzenkandidaten process and transnational lists. Additional issues of concern discussed relate to “cash for passports” schemes, online disinformation and freedom of speech, and EU legislative transparency issues.
Later in the hearing, MEPs raised the issues of minorities in relation to European values and fundamental rights, tackling corruption and an independent ethics body for the EU institutions.
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.
EPP: Jourová will be held to account on commitments
The EPP Group will hold Vice-President-designate for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, to account on the commitments she made during her hearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs.
“We have asked Commissioner-designate Věra Jourová to defend the rule of law, to fight against disinformation and to defend European journalists. It is completely unacceptable that journalists should fear political persecution. It is completely unacceptable that, in Europe today, journalists are being assassinated”, said EPP Group Vice-Chairman Esteban González Pons MEP.
The EPP Group further called on Commissioner-designate Jourová to commit to a legal framework for rapid responses against hacker attacks, a rule of law mechanism to review breaches in every Member State, and on the European Parliament’s right of inquiry, to name but a few priorities.