The Mechanism of Democracy
25 October 2016
Europe does not only mean opportunities of a single market. It means common foundations. It means a duty to uphold the stability… of those foundations. The difference between democracy and dictatorship, that is, between great politics and populist small-mindedness, lies exactly in the following aspects: independent judiciary, civil liberties and the impartiality of the media.
The solutions from the Report treat all countries as equals. They consolidate, they do not copy the existing tools, they are in the treaty mandate. And they do not infringe the principle of subsidiarity, because the essence of civil liberties is beyond the borders of countries.
Democracy is not only about an election result which gives a temporary advantage to the winners. Winning the elections does not give anyone a mandate to undermine the foundations. Therefore, it is important to have a mechanism in place to measure and to evaluate whether everywhere the democracy and the rule of law are protected.
To this end it is crucial to establish a pact for democracy and an interinstitutional agreement.
This is needed in order to ensure – through upholding the sovereignty of the countries – that the principles which cement the European Union are not violated. This is needed in order to be able to notice – through evaluating the situation in the particular countries (and this should be done by experts indicated by domestic parliaments) – any threats and infringements and any systemic deficiencies, and to be able to prevent bad practices. It is not about punishing. It is about a mechanism of early warning and about dialogue.
The Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Parliament need effective and objective tools in this process.
The work on such a mechanism for the European Union has only just started. There are frameworks, procedures, deadlines, tools, areas. We must not lack political will.
I am saying this – looking at my country, Poland, and wishing it would return to the path of the rule of law.
Michał Boni, MEP
25 October 2016