Rule of law conditionality: MEPs decry Commission for the delayed implementation 

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In a joint committee debate on implementation of Rule of Law conditionality regulation, one year after its adoption, MEPs criticised the Commission for delaying its application

Following the 9 December Budgets and Budgetary Control joint committees debate with the Commission where MEPs, inter alia, asked the Commission about its warning letters sent to governments of Hungary and Poland that had been leaked to the media, co-rapporteurs Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FI) and Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES) distributed the following statement:

“According to Advocate General’s opinion of December 2, European Council’s conclusions of December 2020 are not legally binding. This means that Commission should not have suspended the implementation of the Rule of Law conditionality regulation”, said Sarvamaa.

“We all know that the notification letters to Hungary and Poland to launch the budget conditionality procedures were ready before the Council meeting of October 21-22. But something happened at the last minute, between October 20th and 24th. Who is responsible of stopping the Commission at that point?” he asked, and added: “A phone call from a European capital to the President of the European Commission is not the right way to deal with the implementation of a regulation of this magnitude”.

“The main thing is that this train cannot be stopped. After the Court rules on the legality of the regulation in February, the hard-working people in the Commission can finally get the notification letters out of their drawers and mail them. I’m sure the ink on them will be very dry by then”, he concluded.

“We’re running out of patience. It’s been a year since the text was adopted and nothing has been done so far”, said co-rapporteur Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES).

“From the very beginning EP position defended that the regulation was fully applicable and now the ECJ Advocate General goes in this direction too. Therefore we insist on EC to act without further delay”, she demanded.