MEPs have called upon EU Commission to set up a binding, instead of the current “crisis-driven” EU mechanism, to monitor and report annually on the records in the field of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights (DRF) in EU member states. The aim of the Parliament’s proposal is to (1) incorporate existing DRF tools in a single instrument and ensure that they are used to the full, (2) to bridge the apparent gap between DRF monitoring in EU candidate countries and the lack of effective tools vis-à-vis those that are already EU member states; and (3) to secure regular DRF debates in the EU institutions and national parliaments. The resolution text envisions a new EU mechanism that would ensure that all EU member states respect the values enshrined in the EU treaties and set clear, evidence-based and non-political criteria for assessing their records on DRF in a systematic way and on an equal footing. The annual reporting would form the basis for any further action by the Commission and set a clear, progressive approach, ranging from opening a dialogue with the member state, through invoking EU Treaty Article 7(1) to provide an early warning before a serious breach has materialized, to the final step of activating EU Treaty Article 7, under which a member state’s voting right in Council can be suspended. The Parliament has asked the Commission to present them a proposal by September 2017. More information is available here.
Source: European Parliament