The European Parliament is today preparing to boost funding for EU programmes that aim to promote fundamental rights, the rule of law and justice in the EU from 2021-2027.
As a result of the deteriorating situation of the rule of law across the EU, MEPs negotiated to boost the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme with significantly increased funding, with a total of €1.55 billion available.
The Justice Programme, which promotes judicial education and co-operation for judges and legal practitioners across Europe, as well as helping people with access to justice, will have €305 million in funds.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar MEP, chair of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee and S&D negotiator on the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme 2021-2027, said:
“The European Parliament has successfully secured a huge and necessary increase in funding to protect fundamental rights and democracy in the EU. Civil society organisations were right to call for an increase in funding after the Commission’s insufficient proposal and we were right to answer their calls. As people continue to face daily discrimination and unacceptable attacks on their rights and freedoms, civil society organisations are desperate for more resources to strengthen their crucial work in protecting and promoting European values across the continent. With more funding available, local, regional and pan-EU civil society organisations can do more to protect minorities, to promote equality, to fight for LGBTI people’s rights and to tackle gender-based violence. The outrageous assaults on different vulnerable sections of our societies are happening now, not next year, so we need to make sure that funding is available now. The EU is proving that it is committed to its values. For the first time ever, the EU’s commitment to the Justice, Values and Rights Programme adds up to €1.6 billion for 2021-27, with 44% dedicated to the Union’s Values programme, 23% dedicated to protecting children and women against gender-based violence, and 23% committed to enhancing citizens’ participation.”
Katarina Barley, S&D MEP and rapporteur for the Justice Programme 2021-2027, said:
“Today we are voting for a €300 million package to promote the culture of rule of law and to take a step towards a common European area of justice. This is more important than ever as, we continue to witness governments in Europe using parliamentary majorities to undermine the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. It is telling that Hungary and Poland were the only two countries to vote against this programme in the Council. They are continuously denying the primacy of EU law thus endangering the very foundations of our European community. Cross-border co-operation and mutual recognition of judicial decisions can only work if there is trust in an independent judiciary that functions efficiently in each member state. The funds available through this programme will go towards strengthening that trust and co-operation, and promoting a common culture in Europe through training and education. In an ever-more digital world, the funds will also be used to make access to justice fairer and more effective for everyone. The Justice Programme 2021-2027 is one of the best investments we can make to strengthen Europe's justice system and take a step towards a true European area of justice.”