German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas gave the following statement today (5 November) on the agreement with the European Parliament about the rule of law conditionality:

Today’s agreement with the European Parliament on the introduction of rule of law conditionality is a breakthrough. Negotiations were difficult - but the compromise which has now been reached is a great and decisive step towards an agreement on a multi-annual financial framework package.

It helps us strengthen the rule of law in the EU significantly - because this mechanism protects the EU budget from being misused by the member states. For the first time, disbursement of EU funds will be tied to respect for rule of law standards.

The rule of law is part of the set of values on which the European project is built. With today’s agreement, we are making very good progress towards strengthening our European values in the Union – which is a key objective of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.

We are thereby also implementing the mandate issued at the European Council meeting in July. However, we must now all the more rapidly work on agreeing on a package for the multi-annual financial framework and a coronavirus recovery fund. Many countries have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Political leadership in Europe now has an obligation to ensure that the agreed-upon assistance is swiftly provided to the members of the public and the businesses that have been strongly affected by the crisis.