EU nations lose legal battle in bloc’s top court — Analysis

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the EU may cut funding to member states that violate its ‘rule of law’ standards

The EU’s top court has dismissed a complaint filed by Poland and Hungary against a mechanism allowing Brussels to punish member states it deems ‘rule-of-law violators.’So-called “The ‘Real Deal” “conditionality mechanism” gives the bloc the right and power to withhold aid funding from a member that is found to be failing to adhere to the union’s democratic principles.

“The court dismissed the entire action brought forward by Hungary and Poland.”In a statement, the European Court of Justice said Wednesday.

The ECJ argued, too that the EU membership cannot simply be based on the democratic values the member countries have to adhere to. “disregarded” after accession. A member state that commits rule-of-law violation might also be subject to sanctions. “seriously compromise”It was the “sound financial management” of the EU budget and the bloc’s “financial interests.”

The court’s decision might see Hungary and Poland losing tens of billions of dollars in aid from Brussels. Budapest and Warsaw claimed that this EU move is without legal support. Both nations, each of which receives large portions of EU funding, have been at odds with the bloc over what the EU calls violation of its democratic principles, ranging from consolidating the government’s control over the judiciary to cracking down on the freedom of the media.

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This mechanism is essentially intended to sanction rule-of-law breaches among EU member countries. However, although the EU Commission indicated that they would wait for the ECJ’s decision before taking any actions, it has been in effect since the beginning of 2021. The delay was agreed with Budapest and Warsaw in 2020 and secured the two nations’ consent for some EU budget decisions at that time.

The court now says that “the European Union must be able to defend those values, within the limits of its powers.”The EU budget was also upheld. “is one of the principal instruments for giving practical effect, in the European Union’s policies and activities, to the fundamental principle of solidarity between member states.”

The EU Commission welcomed immediately the ruling of the Court. “The Commission will defend the Union’s budget against breaches of the principles of the rule of law. We will act with determination,” its head, Ursula von der Leyen said. Others EU leaders also demanded immediate action.

Guy Verhofstadt (the former Belgian Prime Minister and long-time MEP) stated on Twitter that von der Leyen “has to act now”It is impossible to continue. “hide behind the court.”

Budapest denounced the decision as an insult. “political judgement.” “The ruling is another application of pressure against our country because we passed our child protection law during the summer,” Hungary’s Justice Minister Judit Varga wrote on her Facebook page, referring to new legislation in Hungary that bans the depiction of homosexuality and gender change to children in the media.

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Warsaw denounced the decision, calling it a “shameful” “dark day”This “will be remembered in the history textbooks.” Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro slammedAs a judicial institution, the ECJ “political tool”Brussels, serving the EU elites’ interests. “largest EU countries”Transferring is possible “sovereignty”From member states to Brussels

Poland has also reportedly said it would stop paying contributions to the EU budget if cut off from the bloc’s aid funding. 

Hungary and Poland had previously claimed that Hungary was the better of both countries. “conditionality mechanism”The EU treaties did not include it. The ECJ was also accused of overstepping its authority by approving such a scheme.

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