Are we going the right way?: With Hungary being declared as an autocracy and the rise of far-right ideologies in several Member States, democratic and EU values are at risk. What measures can the EU take to ensure the perseverance of rule of law and democracy in the European political sphere?

Submitted by: Lina Assalhi, Sofia Boll, Astrid Bråtman, Damnjana Dimitrijević, Ella Hagberg, Hashim Khalid, Mirte van Oorschot, Iva Pavlovic, Ester Pernsjö, Marek Jankovský (Chairperson, CZ)

The European Youth Parliament aims to ensure that the EU values, including the rule of law and democracy, are being upheld and respected across all Member States. It further seeks to re-stabilise the adherence to fundamental EU values through the restructuring of control and sanctioning mechanisms. Finally, it also aims to provide aid to individuals who suffered upon a breach of fundamental EU values and seeks to further support the development of critical theory.

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Alarmed by the threat posed by discriminatory narratives, such as racism, xenophobia, or homophobia, to the citizens of the European Union by far-right movements,
  2. Aware of the risks represented by far-right ideologies that promote protectionism and welfare chauvinism, an anti-immigrant discourse based on fear and hatred, or traditional family and religious values,
  3. Alarmed by the ongoing violations of fundamental values of the EU set out in Article 2 on the Treaty on the European Union by several Member States, such as Hungary and Poland,
  4. Aware of the insufficient inquiry, examination, and analysis of the causes of the rise of far-right groups, movements, and political parties,
  5. Concerned by the threats posed to judicial independence and democratic principles by the extensive influence of the executive and legislative branches of power on the judiciary branch,
  6. Acknowledging that existing controlling and sanctioning mechanisms against breaches of EU values provide limited grounds for action, as exemplified by:
    1. the limited effectiveness of the conditionality mechanism,
    2. the factual inapplicability of the sanctioning proceedings under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),
  7. Concerned by the actions of several Member States’ governments threatening media independence  including:
    1. Member States’ or state-associated bodies obtaining ownership of extensive numbers of media outlets,
    2. control of media content presented to the general public,
    3. strict enforcement of a single party’s political stance or insufficient representation of minority opinions,
    4. extensive presentation of ethnocentric content in media,
  8. Taking into account the negative consequences of significant limitations to fundamental freedoms occurring in several Member States such as restrictions of academic freedom of educational institutions, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression of specific groups and organisations,
  9. Deeply concerned by the misuse of EU funds by some Member States;
  1. Endorses existing EU frameworks and organisations aiding individuals facing discrimination, such as homophobia, racism and xenophobia;
  2. Urges the European Commission to initiate an in-depth monitoring process concerning the situation of democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental EU values in Member States through:
    1. amending the rule of law framework,
    2. restricting the criteria of the rule of law checklist;
  3. Proposes an amendment of the sanctioning mechanism under Article 7(2) of the Treaty on European Union to change the voting requirements from unanimity to a four-fifths majority of the European Council to determine the existence of a serious and persistent breach of EU values;
  4. Seeks the Fundamental Rights Agency to further the EU’s understanding of the causes of far-right populism by appointing a research group on far-right populism;
  5. Recommends that EU institutions promote and monitor the independence of the judiciary in Member States via means of regular dialogues with Member States’ governments;
  6. Calls upon the European Commission to build upon the rule of law conditionality regulation by introducing further financial sanctions for Member States’ violation of EU values by September 2023;
  7. Appeals to the European Commission to protect the freedom of association and assembly by acting upon the European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2022, on the shrinking space for civil society in Europe;
  8. Further calls upon the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) to minimise the risk of misuse of EU funds by:
    1. introducing regular financial inspections under the European system of financial supervision,
    2. releasing the results of financial inspections;
  9. Suggests the European Commission to provide financial support to independent media  contributing to the upholding of EU values in Member States;
  10. Asks the European Commission to support civil society activities by:
    1. funding existing programmes and non-governmental organisations educating and raising awareness about the diversity of the information on the internet,
    2. emphasising the importance of differentiating between credible and biased sources in education,
    3. collaborating with NGOs that are involved with the youth across Member States.

Fact sheet

Welfare chauvinism: the political idea that welfare benefits should be restricted to certain groups, particularly to the natives of a country as opposed to immigrants.

Treaty on the European Union (TEU): one of the EU treaties, binding agreements approved voluntarily and democratically by all EU Member States. Along with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), it sets out EU objectives, rules for EU institutions, how decisions are made and the relationship between the EU and its Member States.

Unanimity: a complete agreement among every member of a group.
The Regulation on a General Regime of Conditionality for the Protection of the Union  Budget: also known as the Conditionality mechanism, it allows the EU to, inter alia, suspend payments to Member States in cases where there is both a breach of rule of law principles and the said breach presents a risk to the EU’s financial interests.