US sanctions and rule of law

On June 2, 2021, the US government announced that the US Treasury had sanctioned three people and their networks in Bulgaria for corruption. The US government believes that corruption threatens the rule of law, economic growth, democratic institutions, and human rights. These penalties are specifically the result of the Magnitsky Global Human Rights Accountability Act.(1). On the same day, the US State Department imposed sanctions on three (former) public officials based on Decree No. 13818, preventing them from entering the United States.(2).

This raises profound questions about the impact of such US sanctions on the EU’s work in the areas of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to Monitor Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights held meetings and written exchanges with national authorities and EU institutions, noting that the urgency of the matter responds that often these challenges are not recognized.

In light of these developments, the Authority is requested to answer the following questions:

1. How does the Commission view the fact that a non-EU country, which is seen as an ally, is taking action against corruption in a member state? To what extent does this change the Committee’s assessment of its own approach, and in particular its assessment of its previous actions on the matter?

2. What steps does the Commission intend to take to take decisive action against corruption at the state level? Will the Commission be more proactive in identifying and combating corruption and threats to the rule of law in member states? Now that the commission has stopped publishing anti-corruption reports, will it intensify its monitoring of corruption and draw conclusions and recommendations in its reports on the rule of law? How will the European Prosecutor’s Office help? Will the Commission develop a common strategy to combat corruption in the European Union?

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Received: 2.9.2021.2009

Deadline: December 3, 2021

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