Objective and scope

Measures under the conditionality regulation can only be proposed if the Commission finds out that breaches of the rule of law principles directly affect or seriously risk affecting the sound financial management of the Union budget or of the financial interests of the Union in a sufficiently direct way.

The instrument complements other tools and procedures to protect the EU budget, for example checks and audits or financial corrections, or investigations by the EU's anti-fraud office OLAF. The Commission will only recur to the regulation if the other Union budget protection tools cannot be used more effectively.

The general regime of conditionality is different from the European Rule of Law mechanism (with the annual Rule of Law report at its core) whose goal is to promote the rule of law.

Functioning

Under the conditionality regulation, the Commission will propose appropriate and proportionate measures to the Council in case rule of law breaches in a given Member State threaten the EU financial interests. The Council will then take a final decision on the proposal of measures.

In any case, the final recipients and beneficiaries of Union funding remain entitled to receive their payments. To that end, the Member States concerned should continue to make these payments. In other words, if you are a final recipient or beneficiary of EU funding, you should continue to receive financial support from the Member State independently from the measures imposed under the conditionality regulation.

Guidelines

To clarify a number of elements related to the functioning of the conditionality regulation, the Commission is preparing a set of guidelines. These will explain in detail how the Commission will apply the conditionality regulation, including how the rights of the final recipients and beneficiaries of EU funding will be protected. The Guidelines will be finalised following the judgements of the European Court of Justice in cases C-156/21 and C-157/21.

Once finalised, the Guidelines will be made available online.

Timeline and information sources

These rules are in place since 1 January 2021. Ever since, the Commission has been monitoring the situation across the EU countries and collecting relevant information.

The Commission's annual Rule of Law report, decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union, reports from the European Court of Auditors, as well as conclusions by relevant international organisations are all feeding into the Commission's analysis. Complaints are also a useful source of information for the Commission to establish whether the conditionality regulation should be triggered.

Send a complaint

If you want to send a complaint about a possible case under the conditionality regulation, you are invited to fill in the form below and send it back at: BUDG-CONDITIONALITY-REGIME-COMPLAINTS@ec.europa.eu.

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The Commission will treat your request in full confidentiality and respect of all applicable rules.

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