In a resolution adopted by the Budget and Budgetary Control Committees on Thursday with 53 votes 11 against and 2 votes against, MEPs regret that the commission has decided to adhere to non-binding December 2020 European Council Conclusion and delay application budget conditional regulation.
Guidelines should not restrict the law
They emphasize that the guidelines cannot change, expand or restrict the scope of budget conditional regulation and to add any value, they have to be made clear in the legislative provisions outlining the procedure, definitions and methodology. How will it be implemented in practice?
They also call on the commission to set up a “clear, accurate and user-friendly system” for filing complaints under the regulation.
Rule of law violations should be addressed without delay
The MEPs called on the Commission to expeditiously investigate any possible breaches of the principles of the rule of law, which “are likely to affect or seriously affect the sound financial management of the Union Budget”, pointing out that that “the situation in some Member States already warrants immediate action”.
The commission should report to Parliament on the first cases under investigation by October 2021, the latest, they say.
Parliament can take legal action against the commission
MEPs ultimately criticize the commission for having missed the deadline set by Parliament to implement the regulations and adopt the guidelines by 1 June 2021. They welcome the letter of June 23 by the President of Parliament, saying that if the Commission does not act, the EP will take action in the Court of Justice.
“We are now one step closer to implementing conditional regulation against those who break the rule of law in Member States. With Parliament’s contribution to the guidelines, we provide the Commission with the means and tools to act without hesitation The regulation is ready for use”, said co-correspondent Petri Sarvama (EPP, FI) after the vote.
“We have said from the beginning that the guidelines were not necessary, but the commission put forward its proposal and asked the EP for its position. So here it is. Parliament is always ready to work with the Commission on the rule of law, and in return we hope that the European Commission will not deceive us. It must act swiftly and firmly”, said co-correspondent Eder Guardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES).
The motion will be voted on by the full Parliament during the plenary session of 5-8 July.
Budget conditional regulation is the only piece of EU legislation that links respect for the rule of law to access to EU funds. It came into force on 1 January 2021. However, no remedy has been proposed under this so far. european council asked the commission To delay the application of the regulation while member states challenge it in the Court of Justice of the European Union (Poland and Hungary did so on 11 March 2021), and until the Commission has developed specific application guidelines.
In a resolution passed in March 2021, Parliament said that the application of the new regulation cannot be subject to any guidelines.