Establishment of a European Union Mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights

Mr / Mrs. President,
Honorable members of the Assembly,

The report we are currently discussing is quite reassuring in enhancing dialogue between the EU and the Council of Europe and I commend the rapporteur. As I come from a country under the influence of growing populism and authoritarianism, I have to underline that my party, the Republican People’s Party, insists on Council of Europe’s position as “a benchmark for human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe.” Also, as I come from a country which is being gradually deprived of its strong ties with EU, my party insists on the maintenance of the perspective for full membership in the EU, therefore for non-suspension of the accession talks.

The European Parliament elections due to take place in May raise our concerns on the rise of right-wing politics in Europe. As we all know, European political spectrum is coming under the influence of right-wing populism and we might witness serious populist advances in the European Parliament elections. One of the essential practices of populism is to control the legal system; a kind of ‘discriminatory legalism’ is put into practice and this discriminatory process targets mostly the opposition parties and civil society. We witness this situation in my country. Yet, it is our duty to remind to the populists the merits of diversity and pluralism and the might of separation of powers, the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms which are the basic and founding principles of Council of Europe and of the European Union.

Honorable members of the Assembly,

The European Council’s rule of law dialogue sets a political agenda with the Presidency of the EU. May I add that we should also look for opportunities to raise awareness on the works of different institutions affiliated to the COE, such as Venice Commission and GRECO. For 2019, for instance, we can consider the possibility for a general discussion on Organized Crime and Money Laundering with the assistance of GRECO.

As Yascha Mounk states “Populists are highly skilled at weaponizing forms of resentment: their rhetoric simultaneously aims to turn the growing anger at affluent people against the ruling elite and to turn the growing focus on ascriptive identity against immigrants as well as ethnic and religious minorities.”

We’ve to prevent the “discriminatory legalism” and “intolerance” to protect our democracies.

Thank you.56492578_305480853480543_8360738816209715200_n