Regarding the protection of the Rule of Law in the European Union

Resolution submitted by: Political Commission 1: Institutional Affairs and Governance

 JEF Europe,

• Strongly emphasising the rule of law as one of the core principles which the European Union is built upon;

• Reiterating that the European Union is based on a number of fundamental values, outlined in the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the common constitutional traditions of the Member States;

• Recalling the strong role that legal process and respect for the rule of law at all levels of government has played in European integration and in defining the identity that the EU has ascribed to itself;

• Alarmed by the increase in violations of the rule of law in EU Member States over the last few years, especially in the area of fundamental civil rights and political freedoms including, but not limited to Poland, Hungary, France, and Romania;

• Noting with concern that the inability of nation states to deal with current emergencies, notably Europe’s extraordinary migration flows, the protection of asylum seekers and the suppression of terrorism, is inducing several Member States to adopt measures which are partly or wholly inconsistent with European rule of law and the Union’s values;

• Welcoming the recent efforts by the European Commission to safeguard the rule of law in the EU’s Member States through the initiation of the Rule of Law Framework and its dialogue with the Polish government in order to prevent a deterioration of the rule of law in the EU’s Member States;

• Considering that the EU’s legal framework still remains ill-equipped to deal with the violation of the rule of law in Member States; in particular, the infringement procedure outlined in art. 7 Treaty on European Union (TEU) whereby the EU is virtually unable to sanction gross violations of EU fundamental values in the Member States, requiring an unanimous vote in the Council to be activated;

• Recalling that the ECJ, acting as guardian of the correct interpretation and application of EU law, has always played a fundamental role in the process of European integration by fostering the supranational nature of the Union;

JEF Europe therefore,

1. Calls on the European Commission and European Council to make use of existing instruments, such as the infringement procedure in Art. 7 TEU, whenever there is the danger of severe violation of fundamental principles and not only when it is politically feasible to increase trust that the EU is able to defend its fundamental rights;

2. Calls for Treaty changes with the effect of conferring to the European Court of Justice the authority to effectively ensure the application of the rule of law in the European Union and its Member States and the subsequent necessary increase of the capacities of the ECJ. The ECJ should in particular:

a. Provide an independent assessment of the overall compliance of the Member States with European law and in particular the European Charter of Fundamental Rights;

b. Be able to annul laws and decisions in EU Member States, which are not consistent with European constitutional values and principles;

c. Receive direct complaints from individuals regarding the violation of their fundamental rights as protected by the European law;

3. Calls as well for the introduction of a European Review Mechanism on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (DRF), as proposed by the European Parliament; in particular:

a. an annual scoreboard on the state of DRF in the Member States shall be elaborated by an independent panel of experts and formally adopted by the Commission;

b. the formal adoption of the DRF Scoreboard by the Commission shall initiate the DRF Semester, which shall aim at addressing the results of the DRF Scoreboard and recommendations included in country-specific reports;

c. a systematic fundamental rights impact assessment shall be carried out for all legislative proposals by the Commission.