Supervisory mechanism for undemocratic practices

2 February 2017
Helga Stevens

The Romanian government, led by socialists, has dramatically relaxed that country’s anti-corruption legislation. The upshot of this decision has been mass street protests in Romania itself. The European Commission is so far limiting its reaction to merely voicing its concern. “It is not acceptable for investigations into fraud and abuse of power to be stopped under political pressure,” says MEP Helga Stevens. “Undemocratic practices like these are not worthy of a European Member State. That’s why we must envisage a supervisory mechanism that tackles such practices clearly and without delay.”

The N-VA wants Romania, as a member of the European Union, to shoulder its responsibility in the fight against corruption, instead of severely weakening it as in this case. “After all, the consequences of fraud in one Member State can have knock-on effects in other European Member States,” Helga Stevens clarifies. “With the asylum and migration crisis still very much in mind, and the need for a strong security policy, it is irresponsible for EU countries to let organised and white-collar crime go unpunished. Europe can’t just look the other way.”

No selective condemnation

Helga Stevens deplores the fact that there are various societal debates going in Europe, but that the Commission has a taste for selective indignation: “Some countries keep getting away scot-free. Look at how the Spanish government in Madrid is criminalising the Catalan drive for self-determination. Look at Chancellor Merkel and how her irresponsible - until recently - asylum policy had consequences for all of Europe, but she was never called out on it at European level. The EU is more than an economic project; it is also based on common standards and values. So we need to look at how we can set up a mechanism that protects those standards and values: not selectively but consistently in all Member States.”

How valuable did you find this article?

Enter your personal score here
The average score is