European Interest

Rule of Law: new mandate for MEPs to assess EU values in Member States

Demonstration in memory of murdered journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, Bratislava, March 2, 2018.

For the next two and a half years, MEPs from the Civil Liberties Committee will monitor and report on the respect of democracy and fundamental rights in Member States.

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has renewed and expanded the mandate of its working group on rule of law issues, which has been renamed the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group.

Following visits to Malta (December 2017) and Slovakia (March 2018) in the aftermath of the murders of the Maltese blogger and journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and the Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, the Civil Liberties Committee set up the Group in June 2018. At the time, Parliament was concerned about the lack of progress in both murder investigations, repeated claims of harassment and intimidation of journalists and persistent allegations of corruption and fraud. The aim of was to give full support to all efforts to seek justice and make sure the rule of law prevails. The final report of the Group identified serious shortcomings in the rule of law in those two countries.

The new Group will continue on the work completed in the previous parliamentary term by the Rule of Law Monitoring Group. According to the new Group mission, its MEPs will have to focus on threats to democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, as well as the fight against corruption within the EU, across all Member States.

The working group will be able to recommend specific actions that Parliament can undertake in view of these objectives, such as meetings with stakeholders, hearings and missions, as well as to make suggestions for Civil Liberties Committee proposals for resolutions and reports. The Group’s mandate will remain in force until 31 December 2021, at which point a mid-term review will be carried out.

Specific situations in one or more EU Member States will be addressed by the Group if deemed necessary by a majority of its Members, weighted according to the number of full Members of their group within the Civil Liberties committee. In case of objection by a political group, the Committee’s coordinators will decide on whether to take action.

The Group will continue to be chaired by Sophia in ‘t Veld (Renew Europe, NL), reporting to the Civil Liberties committee on a regular basis, i.e. at least four times per calendar year. Ms in ‘t Veld was nominated and elected at the constitutive meeting of the working group.

Each political group appointed up to two standing Civil Liberties Members to the Group as follows: Roberta Metsola (MT) and Vladimír Bilčík (SK) for the EPP, Sylwia Spurek (PL) and Katarina Barley (DE) for the S&D Group, Sophia in ‘t Veld (NL) and Anna Donáth (HU) for the Renew Europe, Gwendoline Delbos Corfield (FR) for the GREENS/EFA Group, Nicolaus Fest (DE) and Nicolas Bay (FR) for the ID Group, Patryk Jaki (PL) for the ECR and Konstantinos Arvanitis (EL) and Malin Björk (SE) for GUE/NGL.

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