(06 November 2020) – Member States and the European Parliament have agreed on a watered-down proposal to make the payment of EU funds conditional on respect for the principles of the rule of law.
Under the final agreement, EU funds may be suspended or reduced in the event of breaches of the rule of law, but only if they have a sufficiently direct impact on the proper management of the EU budget or the financial interests of the Union.
The mechanism finally retained to establish a link between access to EU funds and respect for the rule of law is much less strict than the one initially proposed by the European Commission in 2018 and initially defended by the Parliament.
This first proposal made access to EU funds conditional on the absence of “widespread failures in the rule of law”. Many MEPs also argued that the decision to suspend funds should be automatically approved unless explicitly opposed by a qualified majority of member states.
This would have made it more difficult for the country concerned to veto the sanction. (Euroefe / EurActiv)