Human rights breaches to be penalized in EU

STRASBOURG, France - The European Commission must "immediately" set up a system to monitor member countries' compliance with European Union (EU) values and accession criteria, said a resolution passed by European Parliament (EP) on Thursday.

The monitoring system, known as the "Copenhagen mechanism," should include binding recommendations and penalties for breaches, such as freezing EU funds, the press release on the EP website said.

"In all EU countries there are breaches of EU values, principles and legislation... If the EU wants to be a moral force that will influence the rest of the world in a good way, it has to be strict with itself," rapporteur Louis Michel stated after the vote approving the resolution.

The resolution also stressed the need to protect national minorities, regional linguistic groups and constitutional regions at the EU level.

National minorities make up over ten percent of the EU population, added the resolution.

Members of parliament also urged national governments to invest more in policies to integrate persons with disabilities in society by removing all forms of discrimination and restrictions on their rights to vote and stand for elections.

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