The rule of law is under great pressure in Europe. Governments in Poland and Hungary are tearing down democracy and taking away people's rights.
In recent years, similar attempts to threaten the free media or attack the judiciary have happened in Slovenia, Czech Republic, Romania, Greece and Malta.
This has to stop. Respect for fundamental rights is a key condition for EU membership . EU funds should benefit citizens, not corrupt leaders.
The European Commission - and President Ursula von der Leyen - need to fulfill their role as the guardian of the European treaties. The Commission is obliged to defend our European values of democracy and rule of law. But so far they have been reluctant to stand up to EU governments when these values are attacked. Authoritarian leaders across Europe continue to receive EU funding, without conditions attached. So long as the Commission refuses to act against the worst attacks on fundamental rights and the rule of law, no democracy in Europe will be safe from the threat of autocracy.
EU governments that do not respect the rule of law and democratic values should face financial consequences. Fighting misuse and corruption of the EU budget should be a top priority. We can only prevent Hungary and Poland from slipping further into autocracy if we stop EU funding to governments abusing the money to undermine the rule of law.
Europe needs to make clear that it is ready to defend fundamental rights for all EU citizens, in all EU countries.
Taxpayers' money must go straight to the people instead of ending up in the pockets of autocrats and their friends.
That is what we need Commission President Von der Leyen to do:
Please sign our petition now and show that European citizens demand a free and democratic European Union.
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield - Daniel Freund - Terry Reintke - Tineke Strik - Ignazio Corrao - Rosa D'Amato - Sylwia Spurek
Greens/EFA Members of the European Parliament