Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

european budget 2019

(European Council, 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


Governments interfering with courts or failing to tackle fraud and corruption will risk suspension of EU funds, according to a draft law endorsed by MEPs on Thursday.

Assisted by a panel of independent experts, the EU Commission would be tasked with establishing “generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law” and decide on measures that could include suspending EU budget payments or reducing pre-financing. The decision would only be implemented once approved by Parliament and Council. Once the member state remedies the deficits identified by the EU Commission, Parliament and EU ministers could unlock the funds.
Independent experts to assist the European Commission
The European Commission may establish that the rule of law is under threat, if one or more of the following are undermined:

  • proper functioning of the authorities of the member state implementing the EU budget;
  • proper functioning of the authorities carrying out financial control;
  • proper investigation of fraud – including tax fraud -, corruption or other breaches affecting the implementation of the EU budget;
  • effective judicial review by independent courts;
  • recovery of funds unduly paid;
  • preventing and penalising tax evasion and tax competition;
  • cooperation with the European Anti-Fraud Office and, if applicable, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

To assist the Commission, a panel of independent experts in constitutional law and financial matters, comprising one expert appointed by the national parliament of each member state and five named by the European Parliament, would assess the situation in all member states on a yearly basis and make a public summary of its findings.
Protecting final beneficiaries
Depending on the scope of the shortcomings and the budget management procedure, the Commission can decide on one or several measures, including:

  • suspending commitments,
  • interrupting payment deadlines,
  • reducing pre-financing and
  • suspending payments.

Unless the decision states otherwise, the government would still have to implement the respective EU programme or fund and make payments to final beneficiaries, like researchers or civil society organisations. The Commission would have to assist the beneficiaries and strive to make sure they receive the due amounts.
The Commission would submit a proposal to Parliament and EU ministers to transfer an amount matching the value of the proposed measures to the budgetary reserve. The decision would take effect after four weeks, unless Parliament, acting by majority of votes cast, or Council, acting by qualified majority (so no single member state can block a decision), amend or reject it. Once the EU Commission establishes that the deficits have been lifted, the locked amount would be unfrozen using the same procedure.
Quotes
Committee on Budgets co-rapporteur Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES) said: “The respect of rule of law and all EU values are core principles upon which we built the European project. No government can violate those values without suffering the consequences.”
Budgetary Control Committee co-rapporteur Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FI) said: “The most important aspect of this mechanism is the protection of the final beneficiaries – in our model, this is strengthened as compared to the original Commission proposal. We have also included the European Parliament in the decision-making procedure, thus strengthening the democratic accountability of any measures taken.”
Next Steps
The Plenary endorsed the rules by 397 votes to 158, with 69 abstentions. MEPs are now ready to enter negotiations on the final wording of the regulation with the EU ministers, who have not adopted their position yet.
Background
The proposal for the regulation “On the protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States” is an integral part of the EU’s long-term budget package, the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

8 ways ASEAN consumer habits will change by 2030 – shaped by COVID-19, tech and more

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

EU recovery and long-term budget: Leaders must do better

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

Drowning in the Mediterranean this summer? Many happy returns

India’s Largest Entrepreneurship Event is Back! (23-24th August 2016)

Africa is creating its own Great Wall – and it’s green

New rules allow EU consumers to defend their rights collectively

In rural Bangladesh, solar power is changing lives

How civil society must adapt to survive its greatest challenges

The EU Commission vies to screen Chinese investment in Europe

This Dutch company makes environmentally-friendly paint

COVID-19: Maintaining the teaching experience for students whilst delivering teaching virtually

MasterCard at European Business Summit 2015: A focus on innovation will drive inclusive economic growth for Europe

FEATURE: Niger’s girls find sanctuary in fistula treatment centres

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

Ocean life faces ‘onslaught of threats’ from human activity, but tools exist to save it

Taking care in times of social isolation goes beyond washing hands or wearing masks

Asia’s plastic problem is choking the world’s oceans. Here’s how to fix it

Can this billion-dollar initiative save the world’s tropical forests?

European Commission kicks off major EU trade policy review

Forest fires: Commission adds planes to rescEU fleet to prepare for summer

What the COVID-19 pandemic teaches us about cybersecurity – and how to prepare for the inevitable global cyberattack

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

“Joining forces to #BeatPollution”, a Sting Exclusive by the Head of UNEP in Brussels

Healthy habits to help you cope with health anxiety

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

How rethinking infrastructure could boost the economy and improve quality of life in the post-COVID world

EU-China Leaders’ Meeting: Upholding EU values and interests at the highest level

The Sting’s Values

Antitrust: Commission imposes binding obligations on Gazprom to enable free flow of gas at competitive prices in Central and Eastern European gas markets

On International Day, UN stands in solidarity with some 20 detained staff

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

UN condemns deadly simultaneous terrorist attacks on military camps in Mali

How can education empower youth to become tomorrow’s leaders

Has the EU economy truly revived from the financial crisis?

Online platforms required by law to be more transparent with EU businesses

Greece will probably stay in the Eurozone but at what cost?

Migration: EU helps channel humanitarian support to migrants in Lithuania

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

Commission study finds positive impact of trade agreements on agri-food sectors

UN Member States overwhelmingly support end of US embargo against Cuba

These islands are using tourists to help offset the effects of tourism

The completion of the European Banking Union attracts billions of new capital for Eurozone banks

Egypt urged to free prominent couple jailed arbitrarily since last June: UN rights office

Bosnia and Herzegovina: EU allocates additional €3.5 million to support vulnerable refugees and migrants

We need to talk about COVID-19 vaccine challenges – Misinformation and Distribution

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

New Africa-Caribbean-Pacific/EU Partnership: moving forward towards a new partnership fit for the future

UN condemns ‘heinous’ suicide attack on education centre in Afghanistan

New systemic approach needed to tackle global challenges

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

DR Congo: Ebola claims over 1,000 lives, Guterres commits ‘whole’ UN system, to help ‘end the outbreak’

Top global firms commit to tackling inequality by joining Business for Inclusive Growth coalition

Rare diseases are more common than you might think

COVID-19: Mental balance in pandemic times

As Alan Turing makes the £50 note, how do countries design their currencies?

The new era of Matriarchy?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s