Judicial review of the amendments to the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure due to the epidemic situation is necessary

2020. 10. 02.

At the meeting of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), Fidesz MEP László Trócsányi proposed that the European Court of Justice should review the amendments to the EP’s Rules of Procedure in order to ensure compliance with the Treaties and rule of law.

László Trócsányi congratulated the authors of the draft on carrying out this extremely important task and emphasized that “the European Union is based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, it is the duty of Members of the European Parliament to do their utmost to make it work legally”. He therefore proposed a judicial review of the amendments to the Rules of Procedure in order to ensure consistency with the Treaties and to uphold the rule of law. “It is common practice in many Member States to initiate judicial review of amendments to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. Likewise, I believe that in the present case a preliminary ex ante judicial review of the draft is necessary in order to prevent any ex post proceedings before the European Court of Justice. This is particularly important, as essential votes such as the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the European Parliament’s approval of the recovery package for the Next Generation EU are expected in the coming weeks,” pointed out the Hungarian MEP. As MEP József Szájer has already emphasized, the European Parliament must function properly and according to the rules.

In connection with the powers of the President of the European Parliament, László Trócsányi explained that expansion of powers is possible only in exceptional circumstances in limited way and with due control, additionally even in the event of an epidemic MEPs must be given the opportunity to defend their position in plenary debates. “For example, I didn’t have the opportunity to do that while I was in quarantine,” the MEP noted. He added that ensuring the positive adaptation of MEPs with disabilities should also be enshrined in the text.

At the end of his speech, MEP Trócsányi emphasized that just as Jean Monnet had stated at the very first sitting of the European Parliament’s predecessor in 1952 that “the Union is built on the separation of powers; the European Court of Justice ensures that the rule of law is observed in the application and interpretation of the Treaties,” highlighting the importance of judicial review.

Background: Due to exceptional circumstances, the European Parliament has been teleworking since March, MEPs can cast their votes remotely, and all MEPs exercise their rights in digital form in view of the public health situation. However, the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament does not allow for remote voting , so it was necessary to draft amendments to the Rules of Procedure in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. In the draft report proposing amendments, the nature of the presidents broad emergency-powers call for further guarantees. József Szájer and László Trócsányi, with the support of the Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary group, proposed the introduction of additional guarantees and the European Court of Justice’s review of compliance with the EU Treaties, in particular compliance with the rule of law.