The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

MEPs vouch for rule of law mechanism to regulate MFF, ensure democracy across member states

Tuesday, 6 October 2020, 13:54 Last update: about 3 months ago

PN MEP Roberta Metsola and PL MEP Miriam Dalli are both vouching for the introduction of a rule of law mechanism that will condition member states’ eligibility for funds relating to the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) while also ensuring democracy in all member states.

Metsola and Dalli were speaking during a press conference addressing some major themes that will be discussed in the upcoming EU Parliamentary meeting. This involved a discussion on the Rule of law as a conditionality in the MFF and a permanent monitoring mechanism to protect European values, as well as the Climate law and new 2030 emissions reduction targets.

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Rule of Law

Metsola said that back in 2016, the EU Parliament had voted for the inclusion of a mechanism that will ensure that EU member states follow a democratic strategy. Over the past week, discussion have been underway on how to strengthen this mechanism by making it a binding statement so that if states do not abide by regulations, they are penalised.

“We want this mechanism to look at each state objectively. We cannot look at the EU as a piggybank, provision of funds should be attributed to abiding by the rule of law.”

She added that this regulatory mechanism will also affect the migration and asylum pact which Malta has been waiting a long time for in order to overcome the pressures that come with these issues.

Dalli said that the parliament has been highlighting these issues for over a decade. The mechanism will have an impact on a number of sectors. It is therefore important to ensure that EU funds are distributed in a holistic manner.

Asked if this could create some bad blood among member states who might not fully agree with the regulations, Metsola said that the point of leave has to be moral values.

“One cannot have certain democratic values that they just forget when they come into the EU which is why it is important to condition the MFF this way. Yes, there have been states that felt they were being abused or ignored; this mechanism aims to completely remove this issue as it will put everyone on an even playing field.”

She explained that this kind of regulation is even more important now in the context of this pandemic due to the large amount of funds that are being put out.

Climate Law

The EU Parliamentary discussions on the Climate Law are targeted towards achieving more ambitious emissions reduction targets by 2030.

“This is at the core of reaching out carbon neutrality goals in 2050,” Dalli said. “We will be pushing for more ambitious targets for the entire EU and also for the individual states so we can achieve this goal within that timeframe.”

She explained that this will require negative figures, meaning that there has to be a reduction in emissions, proposing an overall 60% reduction.

Notably, the EU Commission has proposed a 55% reduction already, however, Dalli explained that this is just the NET amount of reduction as it also takes into consideration reforestation figures. In reality, it will only result in a 25.5% GROSS reduction in emissions from various sectors. Dalli believes that these goals are considerably lower than the ones needed to reach 2050 goals.

As the Vice President of S&D, Dalli is pushing for there to be a target in 2040 as industries prefer to have a consistent idea of the targets it needs to reach. She has also vouched for the setting up of a European Climate Change Council.

Metsola explained that negotiations on a 2030 target are still ongoing due to disagreement between member states and also the EU Commission. She said that she is waiting to get a reply from the Maltese government on its official position on this issue.

Dalli was asked how Malta will be able to meet its targets when it has been failed to do so numerous times. The PL MEP noted that there have been advancements in this regard over the years however there is room for improvement. “If everything was going well, I would be the first to not say anything about it, but I am, because not only is this a local but European problem, other member states have their targets to reach too.”

Women’s presence on boards

On a different note, Dalli touched on the topic of the representation of women in boards of discussions such as the EU Parliament. She noted that the proposal to have at least 40% of members in Parliament being women has been stuck for a number of years. This goal was supposed to reach this goal in 2018 but things have stagnated.

She called for more legislative measures on this issue, mentioning reports that show how states which have implemented legislative measures in this regard, registered an average increase of 27.2% in women within boards. Those states that have implemented non legislative measures, registered an average increase of 14.3% instead.

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