MUNICH — The European Parliament has sued the European Commission over its failure to effectively apply a decision mandating a greater transfer of powers to the courts.
The legal filing, one of the last steps before a suit goes to court, comes after lawmakers in Strasbourg, France voted in January to reopen the legal case, set up in 2016, alleging that the Commission did not adequately implement the so-called “Rule of Law Pact” during the Brexit negotiations.
“We were told by the Commission that this matter had been closed, and would become the subject of no further action,” said EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who led the campaign for reopening the legal case. “However, evidence suggests the opposite. The Parliament has now reluctantly decided to reopen this claim.”
Dmitry Chui, the Commission spokesman, said it was too early to comment on the new legal action since it had not yet seen the complaint.
The Commission is a relatively new institution, which took over from national regulators in 2014 and has had to contend with complex new legal obligations and the demands of Brexit itself.
The ability of the executive to exert its influence across EU waters is central to European unity, and the Parliament said in its filing that, after the vote, it asked the Commission to present a “comprehensive action plan” on how it would comply with the Pact, but received no response.
“The Commission has at the same time repeatedly failed to implement its obligations, in contradiction of its Constitutional obligations,” the Parliament said in its legal complaint.
The Commission struck a very different tone in a separate submission to the Court of Justice of the European Union in October, saying it had been working hard to ensure that “legitimate concerns” about the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union were addressed by the implementation of the Pact.
The Pact requires the Commission to assist national courts, but the EU court said in a January ruling that there was a potential risk of Commission interference. The EU executive appealed the ruling but in October lost that appeal, allowing the Parliament to pursue its claims.
Despite the constraints on the Commission’s powers, it has continued to make significant changes to EU law on issues such as rights and social equality.