Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (53)

Seán Haughey

Question:

53. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of EU efforts to ensure European values and ideals, including the rule of law and that the independency of the Judiciary is upheld in European Union member states, and in particular Hungary and Poland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53291/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Upholding European values as set out in the EU Treaties, including the rule of law and independence of the judiciary, is at the core of the work of the EU. Ireland actively contributes through the appropriate mechanisms to ensure that all Member States respect shared European values and fundamental rights.

Ireland has engaged in the ongoing Article 7 procedure on rule of law in Poland and Hungary, and in broader discussions on the Rule of Law, at the General Affairs Council.

Most recently, Ireland participated in the second hearing on rule of law in Hungary, at the 10 December General Affairs Council. Ireland joined fellow Member States in questioning Hungary on rule of law issues. Ireland focused on the issue of academic freedom and on the Central European University. The Commission also briefed Ministers on the ongoing state of play regarding the rule of law in Poland.

We believe that the Article 7 process should continue but we should consider all of the instruments we have at our disposal to uphold the values of the Union.

In November, the Court of Justice of the European Union made two rulings on rule of law issues in Poland. We respect the rulings of the Court of Justice of the EU and encourage Poland to continue to engage and address the concerns that have been raised.

At the 19 November General Affairs Council Member States reviewed the annual rule of law dialogue and discussed a set of conclusions on the issue. As there was no consensus between Member States on the text, Presidency conclusions were issued. Ireland supported the Presidency conclusions.

It is important that any new mechanisms to uphold the rule of law should be inclusive, non-burdensome and avoid duplication of efforts under existing mechanisms, and that each Member State should continue to be treated equally.