CALL

Europe, the cradle of human rights, freedom and democracy, has always promoted its values far beyond its borders. The European Parliament, the Council of Europe and states all defend these universal principles and call on the countries of the world to respect them.

But today, our continent worries.

The true face of populists

Political leaders are now taking advantage of an unprecedented health situation to take disproportionate and unlimited powers to themselves.

In Poland, the leader of the ultra-conservative majority PiS has attempted a coup in parliament to keep the presidential elections in May by proposing to generalise postal voting. This proposal was finally rejected after several weeks of ongoing protest from opposition parties and civil society. Outgoing president Andrzej Duda, who is campaigning for re-election, is taking advantage of the epidemic to be the only candidate to get full media coverage.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has passed an incredible emergency law, giving him full powers for an indefinite period. The high point is that it is up to the executive, Orban himself, to decide when these extraordinary powers will cease. No executive needs such a concentration of powers.

In recent years, populist regimes have come to power in our cities, our regions, and right up to the top of the state, with great promises. We observe, unsurprisingly and bitterly, that it is now these regimes that are flouting the fundamental principles of our society: freedoms, democracy, the rule of law.

Nothing, not even the current health crisis, justifies such authoritarian manoeuvres. The rights of citizens are not protected by silencing all forms of opposition.

Framing emergency laws, punishing when necessary

To face this crisis, Europe needs strong executives. The adoption of emergency laws in the face of the Covid-19 crisis is legitimate and necessary. Our governments must be able to take decisions with the necessary responsiveness and efficiency.

It is therefore time to arm Europe with effective tools to protect our fundamental values.

We propose that core principles should be laid down at European level to provide a framework for exceptional laws in times of crisis. These principles should be proposed for signature to the member states and subsequently incorporated into the European treaties.

We suggest that each emergency law should be accompanied by a “self-destruction” clause stipulating that it should cease to apply automatically at a predetermined time (e.g. one year) and that its provisions of an exceptional nature should all be cancelled at the same time.

As established case law and democratic practice have prescribed, exceptional measures may be cancelled before the end of the term by a parliamentary vote, if the end of the crisis so permits. They must be proportionate and limited to what is strictly necessary. They also must be adopted by the national parliaments.

The latter must be able to exercise their duty of scrutiny of the executive on a regular, independent and public basis. This counterweight is one of the indispensable attributes of any democracy, along with the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the media and the civil society. These are essential components of democratic life and a parliamentary majority is not enough to protect it. In Europe’s past, there have been majorities that have abused their power and led their citizens to dictatorship. Its history should educate it and make it react strongly.

Therefore, we call on the European Commission and the Council to use all the tools of European law to take actions against Member States that deviate from democratic practices and to apply to them the sanctions provided for in the Treaties.

It is by defending these fundamental values that we hold dear that we will together be able to emerge from this crisis from the top and strengthen the European project.

First signatories

Fabienne Keller, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Nathalie Loiseau, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Spain)
Sophie in’ t Veld, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Netherlands)
Michal Šimecǩa, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Slovakia)
Sylwia Spurek, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Poland)
Bernard Guetta, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Cornelia Ernst, Member of the European Parliament, GUE (Germany)
Damien Carême, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (France)
Dragos Tudorache, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Romania)
Salima Yenbou, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (France)
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Member of the European Parliament, Greens (France)
Ramona Strugariu, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Romania)
Abir Al-Sahlani, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Sweden)
Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Germany)
Maite Pagazaurtundúa, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Spain)
Hilde Vautmans, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Belgium)
Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, Greens (Netherlands)
Anna Júlia Donáth, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Hungary)
Olivier Chastel, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Belgium)
Billy Kelleher, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Ireland)
Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Monika Vana, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Austria)
Robert Biedroń, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Poland)
Klemen Grošelj, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Slovenia)
Bettina Vollath, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Austria)
Margrete Auken, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Denmark)
Marc Tarrabella, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Belgium)
Łukasz Kohut, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Poland)
Irena Joveva, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Slovenia)
Kira Peter-Hansen, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Denmark)
Ivars Ijabs, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Latvia)
Gilles Boyer, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Sándor Rónai, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Hungary)
Sandro Gozi, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Attila Ara-Kovács, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Hungary)
Alice Kuhnke, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Sweden)
Catherine Chabaud, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Pernille Weiss, Member of the European Parliament, PPE (Denmark)
Marie-Pierre Védrenne, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Andreas Schieder, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Austria)
Karin Karlsbro, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Sweden)
Evelyn Regner, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Austria)
Daniel Freund, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Germany)
Marc Angel, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Luxembourg)
Clotilde Armand, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Romania)
Anna Cavazzini, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Germany)
Tiemo Wölken, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Germany)
Christophe Grudler, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Dietmar Köster Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Germany)
Isabel Santos, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Portugal)
Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Portugal)
Laurence Farreng, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Isabel Carvalhais, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Portugal)
Mikuláš Peksa, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Czech Republic)
István Ujhelyi, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Hungary)
Samira Rafaela, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Netherlands)
Milan Brglez, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Slovenia)
Katarina Barley, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Germany)
Stéphane Bijoux, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Birgit Sippel, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Germany)
Petra Kammerevert, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Germany)
Ilana Cicurel, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Sylvie Guillaume, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (France)
Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Poland)
Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Slovenia)
María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Spain)
Karen Melchior, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Denmark)
Juozas Olekas, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Lithuania)
Radka Maxová, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Czech Republic)
Katalin Cseh, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Hungary)
Irène Tolleret, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Elena Yoncheva, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Bulgaria)
Valérie Hayer, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Evelyne Gebhardt, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Germany)
Yana Toom, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Estonia)
Markéta Gregorová, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Czech Republic)
Stéphane Séjourné, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Sylvie Brunet, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (France)
Javier Nart, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Spain)
Terry Reintke, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Germany)
Alviina Alametsä, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens (Finland)
Margarida Marques, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (Portugal)
Raphaël Glucksmann, Member of the European Parliament, S&D (France)
Svenja Hahn, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe (Germany)

Lists of Think Tanks and signatory organisations:

Verfassungsblog (Germany)
European Movement (France)
Political Capital Institute (Hongrie)
L’Atelier Europe (France)
La Fédération Française des Maisons de l’Europe (France)
Association Européenne de l’Éducation (France)
Union of European Federalists (Europe)
Union of European Federalists (France)
European Federation of Journalists (Europe)
EuropaNova (Europe)
Confrontations Europe (Europe)
Les Jeunes Européens (France)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Français