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Tuesday 17.09.2019 | Name days: Vera, Vaira, Vairis

Minister: EC should not be allowed to cut financing to countries with low court independence

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFrom the perspective of the European Union’s legislation and democracy, European Commission should not be given rights to halt funding only because EC thinks the rule of law is insufficient in some country, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

The minister explained that Latvia will have a very adequate comprehensible position in relation to the procedure of European Union Treaty’s Section 7.

«However, we definitely cannot support what happens in some countries or their court justice system. Latvia’s position is very simple – we invite Poland and Hungary to commence a dialogue with EC and European Parliament to resolve problems and avoid application of Section 7, because I do not thing this is the right way,» said Rinkēvičs.

He said this topic has not yet been discussed by the government, because the discussion has only started. According to the politician, it is worth discussing the possibility of entrusting this matter to the European Union Court. Rinkēvičs believes it would be wrong to just give EC the authority to decide what is good and what isn’t.

The government will discuss this matter once it will be necessary to formulate Latvia’s position. This will likely be close to discussions of EU multi-year budget, when countries will be able to agree on digits and specific ideas and mechanisms for the new budget.

«I do not support the idea and solution in the way it is currently presented. I understand authors of the idea and their arguments, which come from many paying member states who do not want to invest money in countries if there is no certainty that money-spending control is adequate and that an independent court system provides full control. This is an argument that should be taken into account, and this is one of the basic matters detailed in EU treaties,» said the minister.

He stressed that this topic is very complicated and that its discussion will be very hot, because there is not just EC’s opinion but also many other member states, including paying-member states that insist there should be ties between the rule of law and financing. At the same time, there are also many countries that believe such an offer is unacceptable. «This should be discussed and it will not be as authors of the idea imagined it. Still, I hope discussions will help us find an acceptable solution,» said the politician.

As provided by the rule draft approved by the European Parliament, EU member states that interfere with courts or do not combat corruption, may be cut off from EU budget contributions.

In accordance with rules, the European Commission will have the rights to ‘detect general flaws in rule of law in member states’ and pick appropriate sanctions.

European Commission would receive advice from an independent group of experts. EC’s decision would come to force if European Parliament or EU Council do not object. If member states prevent uncovered flaws, blocked funds would be released.

In September 2018, the proposal for the EU Council to turn against Hungary for putting at risk basic values and rule of law was supported.


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