PES Democracy Network: EU must remain vigilant and be ready to act on Rule of Law breaches

17/11/2021

PES Democracy Network

PES Democracy Network

After a turbulent year for democracy and the Rule of Law in Europe, the EU must remain vigilant and be ready to act. This was the conclusion as socialists and social democrats met today in the Democracy Network of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Convening online, representatives of PES member parties and organisations, parliamentarians, NGOs and others discussed ongoing attempts by right-wing governments to undermine fundamental EU rights and freedoms, and their repeated political attacks on judges and judicial independence, and media freedom.

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

“Despite the unprecedented health crisis we are facing, we have seen further deterioration of democracy and the Rule of Law in the EU this year. In some Member States attacks from regressive governments determined to implement their illiberal agenda persist, at the expense of fundamental values, democracy, EU membership or sadly even human lives.

“Our political family will never accept that. Whenever breaches of the Rule of Law occur, the Commission needs to act swiftly in defence of our common European fundamental rights and values. This has been a clear message of the latest European Parliament’s report on Rule of Law drafted by our colleague Domènec Ruiz Devesa from PSOE and adopted this summer. It includes strong proposals to strengthen the monitoring of the Rule of Law in the EU and to better link the Rule of Law with other tools at the EU’s disposal.

“The EU must always be ready to defend - in the strongest terms - judicial independence, democratic standards, women’s rights, rights for the LGBTI community and other minorities, and media freedom. We must uphold our European community of values.”

For socialists and democrats, it is becoming increasingly clear that violations of the Rule of Law in Poland, Hungary and other Member States are not accidental. They are part of a deliberate political strategy from populist governments to limit freedoms, isolate these countries from European processes, and distract public attention away from national-level failures on the economy, recovery and corruption. The PES stands with its national member parties in opposition to these abuses of power, and in defence of the Rule of Law.

The Network also exchanged on the strengthening of citizens’ rights in the digital world. Socialists and social democrats want to ensure that privacy, cyber-security, workers’ rights, and accessibility are guaranteed for all.