Bloomberg News

EU Is Urged to Set Up Mechanism to Protect Basic Values

March 08, 2013

The European Union said four EU nations are urging the establishment of a mechanism to protect “fundamental values” that unite the bloc.

In a letter to European Commission President Jose Barroso, the foreign ministers of Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark said the EU “must be able to react swiftly and effectively to ensure compliance” among its 27 member states with the bloc’s basic values.

While the letter didn’t mention any specific EU member, Hungary has been criticized by Germany and other countries for violating rights such as the independence of the judiciary that are seen as fundamental to the bloc’s cohesion. Barroso has received the letter, spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen told reporters today in Brussels.

“There are limits to our institutional arrangements when it comes to ensuring compliance,” the four countries said in the letter. “Neither the procedures enshrined in the treaties nor the EU fundamental rights charter provide for sufficiently targeted instruments.”

They said the commission, the EU executive, “should have a stronger role” in safeguarding fundamental values. The proposed mechanism “should be swift and independent of political expediency,” they said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jones Hayden in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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