Jourová: Rule of law is a condition for receiving EU recovery assistance

European Commission; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – EU members should receive funds from the budget and the fund for recovery from COVID-19 only if they have strong courts and measures against corruption, said the Vice-President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová, which sent a warning to countries like Poland and Hungary, N1 reports.

The leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet next week in Brussels to discuss the budget proposal for the period 2021-2027, as well as the coronavirus recovery fund proposed by the European Commission.

The conditions for obtaining funds, whether it is respect for democratic standards or economic reforms, are one of the main points of contention due to which not all member states have reached an agreement.

“The rule of law should be a precondition for the distribution of EU money,” said Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values ​​and Transparency, ahead of talks with EU justice ministers.

She cited “functional justice” and strong anti-corruption mechanisms as necessary preconditions.

Her words of warning were sent to the governments in Poland and Hungary, which the Commission claims are undermining the independence of the judiciary, as well as Romania and Bulgaria due to corruption.

According to the latest proposal, the Commission would recommend ways to address the problems with the rule of law in any Member State. Blocking such a plan would require a majority vote of EU members.

Countries such as Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands are demanding strict safeguards for access to funds to control violations of EU fundamental values, such as an independent judiciary and the media.