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EU crisis: MEPs prepare to sue von der Leyen for failing to act against Poland and Hungary

3 min read

Hungary spokesman says ‘parental issues don’t belong in EU’

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The EU Parliament is putting pressure on the Commission chief following a dispute over possible procedures to cut EU funds for countries such as Poland and Hungary. This comes as Ms von der Leyen let a deadline pass.

The Brussels authority confirmed that no proceedings have so far been initiated but reiterated preparations were underway.

Back in June, the EU Parliament called on the responsibility of the Commission to finally use a new procedure to punish violations of the rule of law in the EU.

They threatened action for failure to act and at the time, stipulated a deadline for this to happen until August 24.

Now, an action for failure to act can now be submitted to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) within the next two months.

German Green politician Daniel Freund said: “The next step is now that we prepare the application and submit it to the European Court of Justice.”

The new procedure for the protection of the rule of law provides EU countries can reduce funds from the community budget if there is a threat of misuse of the funds due to violations of the rule of law.

Poland and Hungary governments have been accused of influencing the judiciary contrary to EU standards.

They also saw a threat to the EU budget because national law enforcement authorities and courts are responsible for investigating the possible misuse of EU funds.

The two countries rejected allegations and have sued the ECJ against the new procedure and assumed the so-called conditionality mechanism is incompatible with EU law.

Both countries have said the EU has no authority to define the term “rule of law”.

Poland recently received around 18.1 billion euros per year from the regular EU budget, Hungary around 6.1 billion euros.

In addition, Poland expects around 23.9 billion euros in coronavirus aid, Hungary around 7.2 billion euros.

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The EU Covid recovery fund was met with anger as the bloc wants to link the behaviour of member states with access to the funds by means of a “rule of law” mechanism.

This means any country which pursues policies which the EU feels do not uphold its core values will lose access to the vital funds.

Back in November, Hungary and Poland blocked the EU budget over the rule of law issue.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his country’s position on the budget and recovery fund is “rock-solid” and will not seek a compromise on the rule of law issue.

He said: “Our position is rock-solid, theirs is only a political will.

“Theirs can be changed, ours cannot.

“I do not want a compromise.

“Whoever links them is irresponsible, because the crisis needs fast economic decisions.”

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