Democracy Network: Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine proves why EU must strongly defend the rule of law in Europe

Democracy Network: Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine proves why EU must strongly defend the rule of law in Europe

Meeting by videoconference in the PES Democracy Network, the socialist political family discussed Ukraine, the rule of law in Europe and the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Chair of the PES Democracy Network Meeting, Leader of the Social Democrats (Slovenia) and MEP, Tanja Fajon, said:

“As we speak, Ukrainians are fighting for freedom, sovereignty, and democracy. Socialists and democrats stand with them in full solidarity.

“This conflict is a grave warning. Leaders with undemocratic aspirations, who rule by breaking away from the rule of law, pose a great danger to us all. Media freedom, the right to protest, the independence of public institutions; President Putin has attacked these pillars of democracy for decades in Russia. As citizens of the European Union, we must defend ourselves against those whose tactics look scarily similar.

“I was proud to vote in the European Parliament to adopt a resolution last week condemning Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. As Europeans, we must continue to protect and safeguard democracy against autocratic tendencies not only outside the EU, but also within our Union. This is our commitment to peace.”

The participants expressed their full support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and condemned the Russian invasion. They also praised those who are working to support refugees fleeing the conflict.

Meeting participants took stock of the 16 February 2022 judgement of the European Court of Justice ruling concerning the rule of law conditionality mechanism. The Democracy Network welcomed the decision, which confirms the European Commission has all the tools it needs to safeguard European values.

From attacks on the rights of women, the LGBTI community, and minorities, to political interference in the judiciary and the undermining of press and academic freedom, progressives have long voiced concerns about the deterioration of the rule of law in Europe. The PES will always stand for democracy, human rights and the independence of the judiciary.

The PES Democracy Network also discussed the Conference on the Future of Europe – an extremely important democratic exercise. They expressed hopes that persistent problems with the process can be overcome, and the voice to the citizens of the EU can rightly inform meaningful, democratic, change to the European Union and its institutions.