EU rules needed against abusive lawsuits targeting critical voices

The EU Parliament is looking to reform Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). In a report adopted with 444 votes in favour, 48 against and 75 abstentions, MEPs propose a series of measures to counteract the threat that SLAPPs pose to journalists, NGOs and civil society in Europe. 

MEPs worry about the effect of these lawsuits on EU values, the internal market and the EU justice system. The text highlights the frequent imbalance of power and resources between claimants and defendants, which undermines the right to a fair trial. 

MEPs are particularly concerned about SLAPPs being funded from state budgets, and their use in combination with other state measures against independent media outlets, journalism and civil society.

Parliament regrets that no member state has so far passed targeted legislation against SLAPPs. Therefore, it calls on the Commission to present a package of measures, including legislation.