The criteria that link the grant of European funds to member states' upholding the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law will be finalized and transposed into law this year, so that beginning January 1, 2021 the grant of EU funds will be conditional on judicial independence, the European Parliament's rapporteur on the financing of the European Ecological Pact, Siegfried Muresan, said on Friday."The decision to activate the mechanism and to suspend or even cut certain European funds cannot be political, it must come by default, based on objective criteria related to the functioning of the judiciary. [The set of criteria] will be ready before January 1, 2021, the objective is that when the new multi-annual budget comes into force on January 1, 2021, these criteria be already in place, adopted, serve as letter of law and be conditional for the grant of all European funds as of January 1, 2021," Muresan stated.
The European rapporteur said that beginning with 2021 the governments that harm the rule of law will risk penalties for the absorption of EU funds.
"My responsibility as a politician is to make sure that the judiciary operates independently, that there is no pressure on Justice. What is essential, and what will also be important for the absorption of European funds in the future, is the independence of the judiciary, the proper functioning of Justice and the respect of the rule of law in Romania, because EU funding will be tied to the rule of law in the next 7 years, ie the governments deemed to affect the rule of law will risk penalties for the absorption of European funds," said Siegfried Muresan.
The rapporteur of the European Parliament explained that the European mechanism for signaling the breach of the independence of the judiciary in member states must be apolitical.
"The technical implementation of this mechanism is still under negotiation, but there is a clear majority in favor of this mechanism. What is important for our credibility at European level - and this also impacts the absorption of EU funding - is that the judiciary works overall, accomplishes its mission and is credible. Ordinance 13 was a rash legislative act that has obviously put the balance of the state powers in jeopardy, served the political class and affected the independent and balanced character of the judiciary. The benchmarks will be extremely precise, and the mechanism must be apolitical and automatic," said Siegfried Muresan.