Timmermans says von der Leyen will be monitoring respect for the rule of law
Those who think that the new European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen will take a different approach to the rule of law, will be surprised of disappointed - Vice President of the EU Commission, Frans Timmermans, said at the General Affairs Council session on Monday in Brussels.
During the GAC meeting, representatives of the member-states discussed plans to create a permanent mechanism of monitoring of the rule of law. Timmermans took the floor and presented EU Commission's stance on the matter.
He said that EU institutions and member-states should be more aware of the situation in each EU country to better identify danger to the rule of law.
Timmermans also said that those who thought that von der Leyen's commission would take a different approach to the rule of law, will end up surprised or disappointed. He stressed that the new chief of the EU executive had reassured she would keep up working on the issue.
He added that preservation of the rule of law in the EU is the common goal for all EU institutions.
The new mechanism, according to Timmermans, would pertain to all member-states, but mainly to those where the rule of law is at the biggest risk. He explained that the rule of law review would be held once every year.
In the Dutchman's view, the rule of law is an issue of the whole EU, not only of member-states, and that those who argue that it's a national matter are wrong.
During Monday's debate, most of the EU countries supported the idea of creating the rule of law monitoring mechanism, however, some pointed out that that assessment criteria must be established.
Poland's EU affairs minister, Konrad Szymański, also took the floor and said that Warsaw supports the idea itself, as long as the rule of law review would apply to all countries and the criteria would be objective, impartial, precise and in line with the EU treaties.
He argued that these conditions would lower the risk of double standards coming into play that would undermine Poland's reliabilily.
Hungary's justice minister, Judit Varga, said that although her country supports the idea of the said mechanism, the debate was held in a wrong time. According to Varga, as the term of the current EU Commission is coming to an end, the issue should be discussed by the new executive.