B6: Emphasis on the Copenhagen Criteria. We recommend that the European Parliament should be the watchdog to see that all member states respect the Copenhagen Criteria on human rights and the rule of law, as well as the further development of these criteria through the Council of Europe. For this purpose, there should be annual hearings of each member state in the European Parliament.
Why this recommendation?
All countries that join the EU have to live up to the so-called Copenhagen Criteria, i.e. the basic standards, by which candidate countries have been measured since 1993. They are 1) political criteria (stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities), 2) economic criteria (a functioning market economy), and 3) governance criteria (the administrative and institutional capacity to effectively implement all laws and regulations binding all the EU member states (the aquis)).
So far it has proved to be very difficult for the European Commission to act against presumed breaches to the Copenhagen Criteria, partly because the standards represented by the Copenhagen Criteria is not always met in the "old" member states.
We recommend that the same criteria should be used for all, and that a system of annual reviews be set up, to promote peer pressure, encourage a better and clearer human rights situation in "old" member countries, and refresh the commitments of the "new".
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This is one out of "20 Recommendations For More Democracy in Europe", prepared by seven conferences in seven EU countries - Denmark, Latvia, The Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Bulgaria and The Netherlands, in that order. The final document was prepared by representatives of all 7 conferences at The International House Sonnenberg in the Harz Mountains, Germany.
The My!Europe project will present one recommendation every day until Christmas, with a final overview on Dec 24.
To read the full text go to www.myeurope.today/important-pages-2
We think that these recommendations for change are extremely important for the future of Europe. What do you think? Your opinion counts.