One European Parliament committee on the CVM: some citizens still do not fully benefit from freedom, security and justice

The European Commission wants Romania to be part of the Schengen area. It explicitly asks the European Council for Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia to join the free movement area.

The request comes after the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee last week adopted its opinion on the European Commission’s 2020 report on the rule of law in the EU by 24 votes to 7.

In the document, the Commission regrets that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism “still prevents some European citizens from fully benefiting from the area of freedom, security and justice”, referring to the Schengen area. The wording belongs to the shadow rapporteur for this opinion, USRPLUS MEP Vlad Gheorghe.

A member of RENEW EUROPE, Vlad Gheorghe insisted CVM to be included in the opinion of the Committee on Petitions. The document will be then sent to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

LIBE is to propose a resolution based on the European Commission’s 2020 Report on the rule of law in the EU.

“Mentioning the CVM is very important for Romania considering our efforts to lift the mechanism by the end of the year. For too long Romanians have been treated differently. We have remained outside Schengen because of the interventions on justice made in their own interest and that of their party. I am talking about those parties who wanted the Special Section, amnesty and pardons, the abolition of abuse in office”, explains Gheorghe.

Romanians in the Diaspora

At the suggestion of the USRPLUS MEP, the committee members adopted other amendments. One very important one is for Romanians in the diaspora.  The opinion stresses that adequate standards of the rule of law should be guaranteed to European citizens AND during the exercise of their right to free movement within the Union, i.e. outside their country of origin.

It also stresses that seasonal and cross-border workers must be guaranteed social protection and healthcare. They also need effective access to justice when working in another Member State. These mentions become all the more important in the context of recent events concerning Romanian lorry drivers.

International interference in the democratic process

MEP Gheorghe also called for the LIBE motion for a resolution to warn of the risk of third country interference in EU democratic processes. Such as through international corruption schemes that jeopardise the rule of law in the EU.

Integrity of whistleblowers

Another amendment by the Romanian MEP stresses the importance of whistleblowers alongside independent journalists in tackling rule of law issues. In addition, he also highlights the importance of civil society contributions to the assessment of the rule of law in the Member States.

The impact of misconduct in the allocation of EU funds

USRPLUS MEP suggests in the LIBE draft resolution that the European Commission should present in its future reports an assessment of the impact of the misuse of EU funds. This should be included in the framework of the mechanism for sanctioning European governments that violate the rule of law.

“The amendments we have tabled aim to improve the rule of law in the EU and Member States. We must constantly remind ourselves that no report effectively combats corruption. It does not put an end to law enforcement violence or intimidation of some citizens. It is up to national authorities to fight this fight. The European Union has an obligation to ensure that they really do. The Union must ensure that Europeans enjoy the same rights in all Member States. Whether we are talking about the benefits of the Schengen area or the rights of seasonal and cross-border workers. At the Commission, we receive a lot of petitions about violations of the rule of law. We need to show more firmness and focus on concrete objectives, not just statements.”

Read the full press release