Tuesday 27 September 2016

Ex-Commission chief shocked over rule-breaking EU nations

Published 01/06/2016 | 02:30

Catherine Day, former Secretary General of the European Commission
Catherine Day, former Secretary General of the European Commission

Catherine Day, the former Secretary General of the European Commission, has said she's shocked when member states have to be fined to force them to implement EU rules they freely signed up to.

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The Brussels-based body has been stepping up its emphasis on enforcement and implementation, the now special advisor to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said. Mr Juncker believes in less European regulation, but improvements in enforcing existing laws.

"Implementation is part of the basic bargain between member states," Ms Day, inset, told the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) yesterday. "They have to believe each other that when they sign up to difficult compromises that they will all go home and implement the same thing.

"That isn't always the case. I'm still naive enough to find it shocking that member states have to be fined, sometimes more than once, in order to live up to the side of the bargain that they themselves, freely, democratically, struck."

Ms Day said the commission is reluctant to reopen certain pieces of legislation because it believes that countries would not sign up to laws now that they did in the past.

She said there is a belief in the commission that some of the major advances, in terms of European integration, would immediately be cancelled.

"It's interesting to see, regularly, implementation issues coming up to the European Council where member states want to contest the basic agreements that they have struck between each other, or the fact that the Commission is taking them to court," Ms Day added.

"So it shows the importance of having a neutral body that does the enforcement, does the policing."

Irish Independent

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