We need a new system to punish rights violations in Europe – PD

REUTERS/Yves Herman

Partit Demokratiku is calling for a ‘new effective mechanism’ that regularly monitors and punishes rights violations carried out by EU member states.

The party explains that it is a necessity that a new process exists outside of the existing Article 7 Treaty of the European Union, that will act to regularly monitor and enforce sanctions against ‘violations of fundamental rights, civil liberties and the rule of law in the member states of the EU.’

Article 7 states that a European Member states can have certain rights suspended if it is found that they are continuously breaking key EU values outlined in Article 2, like the rule of law or respect for human rights.

While identifiying the breach needs unanimous support of the European member states, sanctions can be a implemented only with a majority vote. Sanctions can include the suspension of voting rights or exclusion from participation in European processes and events.

In April MEPs from the Socialists & Democrats Group managed to block efforts in the European Parliament to vote on triggering Article 7 proceedings against Malta.  The move had been invoked by the German Green MEP Sven Giegold, in light of the GRECO report’s damning assessment that Malta’s criminal justice system risked collapse.

GRECO report says Malta’s criminal justice system risks collapse

Had it been successful, the rule would’ve seen Malta facing suspension of its voting rights and a blocking of its access to EU funds. S&D managed to encourage the European Commission to instead engage in negotiation with the Maltese government.

Giegold was latterly criticised by the Nationalist Party for his stance.

PN condemns call to trigger Article 7 against Malta

Decentralization?

Alongwith promoting a version of Article 7 that has more teeth, PD also presents the idea of decentralizing the EU’s bureaucracy and decision making.

The MEP candidate Dr Anthony Buttigieg explains that this would cede certain powers back to national governments.

‘Decisions must be taken at the appropriate national or EU level, whichever serves Malta’s and other Member states’ best interest,’ the MEP says.

Awareness

Fellow MEP candidate and Secretary General of the PD, Martin Cauchi Inglott, explains that the EU has to to do more to market its benefits.

Inglott says, ‘The EU is doing a good job on many fronts, but because the EU is failing to market its successes effectively, European citizens are often unaware about the power and benefits of our Union … The EU needs to develop a marketing machine that reaches every single citizen in Europe through plain, simple, ideally graphic and video, messaging.’