Parliament approves new Rights and Values programme for the 2020s
Thanks to an agreement between all major political groups, the European Parliament will amend today the Commission's proposal to establish a Rights and Values programme in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). MEPs have earmarked 1.8 billion Euros for the programme, more than doubling the Commission's original offer. The aim of this new Fund is to support those actors that defend European values across the EU, such as NGOs.
The programme's aim is to provide sufficient funding to address new challenges to fundamental European values as laid down in Art. 2 of the TEU. In recent years MEPs had expressed their concerns about the rule of law, fundamental rights and the continually shrinking space for independent civil society in various Member States. The proposed financial allocations between 2021 and 2027 would ensure civil society is supported to fight for the promotion of these rights and values. After all, respect for democracy, Rule of Law and fundamental rights is the core of the European project.
ALDE's aim was to significantly improve the Commission's original proposal in terms of funding, flexibility and scope. The outcome now guarantees that NGOs in emergency situations due to systemic threats posed by governments, will get EU support rapidly.
Sophie in 't Veld ALDE shadow rapporteur of the report commented:
"Today, the European Parliament is taking an important step to defend European values. There is a consensus about setting up a mechanism to withhold EU money from Member States that fail to respect human rights and the rule of law. We want to get this right: that is why we ensured an independent annual review of Member States on their respect of EU fundamental values and democratic scrutiny.
But it is a carrot and stick approach: we are also setting up this new Rights & Values fund of 1.8 billion euros, specifically intended to support NGOs that do stand up for European values. This is the exact amount we spend outside the EU on promoting our values, so this is the minimum we should do inside the EU as well. When EU governments crack down on democracy we must support all forces that stand up for the rule of law and fundamental rights."
The European Parliament will now start negotiations on this with the Member States in the Council.
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