Croatian Presidency Insists on Informal Talks with EP on Hungary and Poland

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 26, 2020 – The Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU on Tuesday rejected a request by leaders of several political groups in the European Parliament to take part in the Council’s discussion on violations of European values in Hungary and Poland, recommending informal consultations on the issue, as has been the case so far.

The leaders of the S&D (Socialists and Democrats), EPP Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), Renew Europe, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance expressed dissatisfaction with the slowness of the Article 7 procedure for Hungary and Poland.

Andrea Metelko Zgombić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs who chaired a General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, said that the Presidency took note of the letter in which they expressed dissatisfaction.

The letter expressed dissatisfaction on the part of some of the members of the European Parliament with the previous Finnish presidency and presidencies before it because Parliament wants a greater and stronger role in the Article 7 procedure. However, it was agreed that MEPs cannot participate in meetings of the Council of the EU as that might cause a disbalance between the European institutions, according to Metelko- Zgombić.

The conclusions on non-attendance of MEPs at Council meetings were adopted by all member states during the Finnish presidency in the second half of 2019.

After discussions on the issue of Hungary, the Finnish presidency organised an informal meeting with representatives of the European Parliament, and the Croatian presidency plans to do the same after a discussion on Article 7 in March.

During the Finnish presidency, the member states adopted specific rules on how the institutions can participate in that matter.

The Croatian presidency will be in contact with the EP and will exchange necessary information at informal meetings “because that is in our mutual interest,” Metelko Zgombić said.

Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union is a procedure provided for by the treaties of the European Union to suspend certain rights of a member state. It is a sort of infringement procedure used against member states that have violated fundamental rights.

In 2017, the European Commission initiated the procedure against Poland criticising it for its judicial reform.

In 2018, the European Parliament initiated the same procedure against Hungary over its disrespect for media freedoms, attacks on civil society associations and violations of human rights of minorities and migrants.

At its meeting today, the General Affairs Council exchanged views on future relations with the UK and adopted a negotiating mandate for the upcoming talks.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.


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