Values and rights, rule of law, security
#TheFutureIsYours Looking after citizens’ freedoms
No double standards in the defence of democracy and rule of law
The EU no longer champions democracy and civil liberties as vigorously as it used to. These days, the governments of Member States in violation of EU legislation, such as Poland and Hungary, barely get a slap on the wrist. Other Member States that fail to abide by EU law but have more weight to throw around, such as Spain, do not get even that. As a result, parts of the continent are experiencing democratic backsliding at an alarming rate.
Democracy needs to be put back at the heart of the European project. Civil liberties and human rights can no longer be seen as mere bargaining chips to be traded for political or economic advantages in a quid pro quo; serious infractions can no longer be met with simple expressions of "deep concern". Furthermore, the unanimity rule for TEU Article 7 should be switched to qualified majority voting (QMV) to avoid leaving the door wide open to abuse (i.e. two Member States with serious rule of law or human rights infringements joining forces to veto Article 7 proceedings on each other's behalf).
We therefore call on the EU to proactively fight for democracy across the continent, including by activating TEU Article 7 procedures whenever warranted, and to avoid double standards between bigger, more powerful states and smaller, less powerful ones when it comes to enforcing EU values. For, if Europe loses its values, it loses everything, and if Europe does not lead by example, it is human rights everywhere in the world that stand to lose.