The EU Seeks to Prevent Funding To Members Lacking Rule of Law
The European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova, spoke out against EU members on Monday who may oppose linking European funds to rule of law, according to Politico.
The Commission revealed the bloc’s next budget for 2021-2027 last week, which would give the EU the ability to stop funding if a member state is found to lack an independent judiciary. Politico reports that the move is understood to be a caution to Hungary and Poland who have been at odds with the Commission over the rule of law.
“If a state now protests against this, the state kind of admits that they will not be guaranteeing in the future the sound financial management and protection of EU money,” Jourová told the outlet, saying EU funds have the ability to attract “big, bad people.”
“I am concerned about the low percentage of OLAF recommendations taken by the Hungarian authorities,” Jourova also said, citing Hungary as an example. Prosecutors from the country have yet to follow up on findings by the EU’s anti-corruption agency, OLAF.
The proposed budget must have unanimous support from the member states as well as the support of the European Parliament, however, the rule of law proposal would not need unanimous consent to be passed.
Moreover, not all member states would need to support any move to block EU funding, only to prevent it.
The cuts to funding would only occur in defined circumstances, though it is unclear what those are at the moment. Human rights violations would not be one of the circumstances to warrant ceasing the funds.
The proposed multiannual budget recommended US$1.54 trillion expenditure, up from $1.3 trillion for the 2014-2020 budget, reports Bloomberg.