Emmanuel Macron has been accused of undermining freedom of expression and freedom the press with his new controversial security law. The French president has faced days of protests in the streets from journalists and members of the public who have accused the Government of behaving like “illiberal” Hungary and rejecting the rule of law. Euronews Political Editor Darren McCaffrey challenged Romanian MEP Dacian Ciolos about the tepid warning the European Union issued France despite the issue of respect for the rule of law being at the centre of a major clash with Hungary.
Mr McCaffrey said: “The EU has essentially waded into the row around this new security law, issuing somewhat of a rebuke to it all really.
“They talked about any new law should work on the principle of proportionality and then it must reflect the right of guaranteeing public security and the protection of citizens. But also, interestingly, it must guarantee freedom of expression and of journalism.
“Many people saying that the new law points to the same illiberalism we’ve seen from other parts of Europe.
“I asked Mr Ciolos whether he thought some of this illiberalism meant that some of the critics of Emmanuel Macron in France could say they are acting in some of the ways as states Brussels has described as acting illiberal.”
The Romanian MEP, the head of the all-European Renew Group, said: “European values are clearly stated in the European treaties.
“We ask for the independence of the justice system, of the press, for respecting minorities.
“To respect also the independence of democratic institutions in a state.”
The response prompted Mr McCaffrey to point out the protests taking place in France over the past few weeks suggest some of the accusations moved against other member states like Hungary and Poland.
He also pointed out there are several mechanisms for EU citizens to appeal to should they feel their national governments are not acting in respect of common values.
Mr Ciolos said: “I am not in a position to comment every day, every week, every decision of every politician.
“We have an executive power in the European Union stated by the treaty, which is the European Commission. With this regulation that we’ve negotiated with the Council, we empower the European Commission, which is independent, to make an objective assessment.
“We have the European Court of Justice to also look at whether European legislation is respected or not. So the European Union is a land of rule of law and we want this rule of law to be respected.”