Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-09-12-Speech-3-352-000"

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"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@cs1
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@da2
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@de9
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@el10
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@en4
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@es21
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@et5
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@fi7
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@fr8
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@hu11
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@it12
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@lt14
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@lv13
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@mt15
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@nl3
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@pl16
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@pt17
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@ro18
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@sk19
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@sl20
"Mr President, this is the second time this year that we have had to address a very serious situation concerning the rule of law in one of the Member States of the European Union. After Hungary, Romania. And the debate today, like those we have had in the past on a similar question, was very much led by party political concerns, similar attitudes in similar debates. We as a European Union need to stand firm on our values and on the rule of law, and that is why I think that we need to put in place an objective mechanism to assess the judicial systems in all of our 27 Member States, because our infringement procedures are too technical and too slow to react to high-risk situations concerning the rule of law, and because the Article 7 procedure is a nuclear option that should only be used by the Commission, Parliament and the Council when there is really no other solution. But what do we have in between? I would therefore like to work with the European Parliament and with the justice ministers of all Member States on a new intermediate and more focused mechanism. I propose to add to the economic and social benchmark in the European Semester a new mechanism for measuring, comparing and benchmarking the strength, efficiency and reliability of the justice systems in all Member States. So my experts are at this moment developing for the European Semester a justice scoreboard that will allow a detailed assessment of the justice systems of all Member States, their strengths and their weaknesses and I am going to start a discussion with Parliament and with the justice ministers in the coming weeks. We Europeans have built a Community based on the rule of law as the Germans say – and we therefore cannot allow the rule of law to become an object of any party political game. We need a strong, reliable rule of law in all 27 Member States of the Union and I count on this Parliament to strongly support the European Commission in this endeavour. The Commission is the guardian of the Treaties and this is why we always need to act with fairness and impartiality. When there is an attack on the rule of law or a breach of EU legislation, irrespective of the political colour of the government, the Commission will remain firm in expressing concerns and taking actions, and this does not apply only now but has also applied in the past. I still remember a time when I took action on a very similar matter, which was in 2009 when I was Telecoms Commissioner. I started infringement proceedings against Romania to protect the independence of the national telecoms regulator. At that time a right-wing government coalition had introduced emergency legislation to deprive a court ruling of its effect and to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator from office. It was the same rationale that the Commission followed earlier this year when we brought Hungary to the Court of Justice for violations of the independence of the Hungarian data protection legislation and other infringement procedures. Of course such legal issues may seem small in the overall context. So what about the big picture? What about the rule of law in general and what about the independence of the judiciary? I agree with those who asked these questions. Yes, the Commission has to play its role as guardian of the Treaties and it has to go after breaches in EU law by means of infringement proceedings. It is a general principle, and small violations count too. What about the big violations? Here I would to draw two lessons from the recent experiences. First, of course, we always need to tackle these matters with independence and objectivity. Respect for the rule of law has nothing to do with the political party in power. For President Barroso and for myself, this has been very important throughout these processes. Lady Justice is blind. She does not recognise party political colours. She only reacts to the rule of law which is in danger. Secondly, we can see very well by these very concrete examples that we have experienced this year that we lack effective mechanisms in the EU to enforce respect for the rule of law more generally and more systematically. Today everybody mentions the situation in Hungary and Romania. Are we sure that we will not see such a situation again in a couple of weeks in another EU country? Now let us be honest – and some of the parliamentarians have said it very clearly – we face a Copenhagen dilemma. We are very strict on the Copenhagen criteria, notably on the rule of law in the accession process of a new Member State but, once this Member State has joined the European Union, we appear not to have any instrument to see whether the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary still command respect."@sv22
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