PES Europe ministers vow to defend EU community of values across Europe

19/10/2021

File photo: Michael Roth, German Minister of State for Europe and Chair of the PES GAC ministerial meeting

File photo: Michael Roth, German Minister of State for Europe and Chair of the PES GAC ministerial meeting

The European Union’s community of values – built on common laws – must be defended against persistent attacks on the Rule of Law, Europe ministers from the Party of European Socialists said today.

Meeting in Luxembourg to coordinate ahead of the General Affairs Council (GAC), socialist and democratic ministers expressed strong concerns about the latest developments in Poland.

Meeting Chair, Germany’s Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, said

“Union law must take precedence over national law. Otherwise, our community of values, ​​built on common laws, will fall apart.

“Attacks on the foundations of our Union have reached a new high point in Poland. The verdict from the Constitutional Tribunal is an unprecedented situation.

“As social democrats, we will never accept Rule of Law breaches, anywhere in the EU. Respect for the Rule of Law is the guarantee for the rights and freedoms of our citizens. The European Commission must use all tools available to secure the European judicial system and protect the Rule of Law.”

The PES is deeply concerned about the erosion of the Rule of Law in Poland. Earlier this month, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal - tasked by PiS Prime Minister Morawiecki and led by PiS appointees - ruled fundamental provisions of the EU Treaties as unconstitutional, challenging the primacy of European law.

Protection of the Rule of Law and European values is a priority for the PES political family. Last year, social democrats in the German Presidency of the Council of the EU launched a new Rule of Law Dialogue, a new instrument based on the Commission’s annual Report on the Rule of Law in all 27 Member States, in order to keep the topic regularly and high on the agenda.

The fight to protect the EU’s fundamental values was spearheaded in the last European Commission by then First Vice-President, now Executive Vice-President, Frans Timmermans. It remains a key issue for the PES family and progressive presidencies of the Council of the EU.

The PES GAC meeting also discussed the Conference on the Future of Europe, and the ministers again stressed the need for the Conference to engage with citizens and ensure their voices are central to the process. The Conference must deliver tangible and comprehensive results for them.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Michael Roth, Chair, Minister of State for Europe, Germany
  • Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark
  • Tytti Tuppurainen, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Vincenzo Amendola, Undersecretary of State, delegated to European Affairs, Italy
  • Ana Paula Zacarias, Secretary of State for the European Union, Portugal
  • Juan González – Barba, Secretary of State for the European Union, Spain
  • Hans Dahlgren, Minister for European Affairs, Sweden
  • Constantin Kourkoulas, Head of EU Policy Unit, PES