10 June 2021

Parliament accuses Commission for failure to act on Rule of Law

In a plenary resolution adopted on 10 June, MEPs note that the new conditionality instrument to protect the EU budget in force since 1 January 2021 applies also to the Resilience and Recovery Funds. Despite this, the Commission has not proposed any measures under the new rules and has not respected the deadline of 1 June given by Parliament in its 25 March resolution to finalise the guidelines on the application of the Regulation. This according the MEPs, “constitutes a sufficient basis for taking legal actions under Article 265 of the TFEU against the Commission”.

MEP demand that the Commission swiftly addresses the severe violations of the principle of rule of law in some member states that are putting in danger the fair, legal and impartial distribution of EU funds. Therefore, the European Parliament will start the preparation for court proceedings against the Commission for its failure to act, if the Commission will not fulfil its obligations within two weeks.

The legislation adopted at the end of 2020 made access to EU funds conditional on respect for the rule of law. If the Commission establishes that a country is in breach and that the EU’s financial interests are threatened, it can propose that payments from the EU budget to that member state are either cut or frozen. In their meeting on 10-11 December 2020, EU leaders agreed that the Commission should prepare guidelines for the implementation of the rules that should be finalised after the ruling of the Court of Justice. However, Parliament has insisted that the rules are in force and that the Commission has a legal duty to defend the EU’s interests and values.