See you in court?

martedì 20 aprile 2021 13:00 14:00
Odoo • A picture with a caption
Hungary and Poland find themselves at the heart of the on-going controversy concerning the Rule of Law in European Member States

Before Christmas, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán played the lead role in the melodrama of the Rule of Law Conditionality – would Poland and Hungary veto Next Generation EU, the EU’s 750 billion euro recovery fund, meant to support member states hit by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the end they would refrain from using their right of veto – in order to avoid the Rule of Law Conditionality, which threatens to deprive the two member states of substantial EU-funds if they failed to comply with EU’s values (democracy and Rule of Law) as described in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union. But in the end, both the recovery fund and the Rule of Law Conditionality were sorted out by a diluted compromise that left no one satisfied – except the governments in Poland and Hungary.

Since then not much has happened. The Commission never started enforcing the rules, because of a “gentleman’s agreement” between the heads of states of the EU of not doing so until Poland and Hungary has had the chance to question the legality of the whole procedure at the European Court of Justice (EUCJ).

In March, Poland and Hungary did exactly that – brought a case to the EUCJ. The European Parliament was not pleased and threatened to take the Commission to the EUCJ for passivity, if it failed to enforce the rules before 1st of June 2021.

Status: much ado, but so far little effect of the Rule of Law Conditionality.

Is this precisely what the Hungarian and Polish government planned for? What exactly is in the Rule of Law Conditionality as agreed in December 2020? Will it eventually have some repercussions for member states who flout the values of the EU? When?

Online debate with Central Europe-expert Daniel Hegedüs, Hungarian MEP Katalin Cseh and Danish MEP Morten Helveg Petersen. Journalist Vibe Termansen will moderate the debate.

Featured in the debate

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Daniel Hegedüs

Central European Fellow at The German Marshall Fund in Berlin and expert in populism and democratic backsliding in Central Europe.

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Katalin Cseh

Member of the European Parliament for the Renew Europe Group (HU/Momentum) and a member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights.

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Morten Helveg Petersen

Member of the European Parliament for the Renew Europe Group (DK/Det Radikale Venstre) and substitute in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.