Civil Liberties MEPs tackle human rights flaws in the EU

The European Commission must “immediately” set up a new system to monitor all EU member states’ compliance with EU values and accession criteria, says a resolution voted by the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday a European parliament release informs. MEPs also criticise violations of the basic rights of migrants, national minorities, persons with disabilities and women.
The resolution, approved by 31 votes to 18 with 5 abstentions, analyses the respect for fundamental rights in the EU in 2012. “It is high time for the EU to put in place mechanisms to ensure the correct application of European values and the Copenhagen criteria, which should remain valid after entering the EU. A monitoring and sanctioning tool should be created to this end, involving EU institutions, member states and expert bodies like the Fundamental Rights Agency and the Council of Europe”, commented rapporteur Louis Michel (ALDE, BE) after the vote.
MEPs also suggest considering treaty changes, such as revising EU Treaty Article 7 (rules for determining whether there is a clear risk of a serious breach of EU values in a member state). The aim would be to separate clearly the “risk” and “violation” stages. To help prevent breaches of EU values in the long term, MEPs also call for the creation of a “Copenhagen Commission” of independent high-level experts on fundamental rights.
The full Parliament is expected to vote on the resolution at the 24-27 February session in Strasbourg.
Domestic media has speculated on Tuesday that Romanian risks losing access to the EU funds if political skidding like the one in December will take place again. On December 10 the parliament voted two amendments to the Criminal Code, supported by ruling USL, regarding the definition of ‘the conflict of interests’ and ruled MPs and the President will no longer be considered public servants, while reducing the time limit for special prescription.

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