The European Commission has formally agreed to propose a concrete mechanism that will monitor the state of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in every member state by the end of the year.
The move was announced by European Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans and comes after significant pressure from the European Parliament to act after the assassination of anti-corruption journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and Jan Kuciak in Slovakia.
MEP Roberta Metsola, who was one of the main law makers backing such a move having taken on a leading role in the debate on a European level, said:
“I am pleased that the Commission has decided to act. It is clear that we need to close the gap between the rights we demand as EU citizens and the tools available for their protection. This is a huge step forward and goes in the direction that we have been asking for. Having this mechanism will mean that every member state will be subjected to the same level of scrutiny.
“It is a game-changer in the way the EU protects people’s rights. It means that governments who think they have carte blanche to do as they please after winning an election will be in for a surprise. We are giving Europe the tools to act. It will remove the politics from the equation and create equality among States. It means that we will finally see concrete action and we will see it by the end of the year."
Speaking in Strasbourg in a debate with Vice President Timmermans, Dr Metsola said: “A Europe-wide mechanism that protects democracy, the rule of law and the fundamental rights of all citizens in all member states is essential.
“We are awaiting the Commission’s proposal - that could take the form of an annual assessment with tailor made recommendations for every member state. It could combine a series of existing reports with individual considerations per country. We’re not interested in going after one country, we want to change the entire system.”
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