Hungary, Poland challenge tying budget to rights standards

Poland and Hungary sent to court a new EU rule that links the bloc's budget to basic democratic standards, news wires reported. The cases at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) mark a new showdown between the two EU Member States accused of democratic backsliding and Brussels. The new rule of law mechanism was built into the 2021-27 spending plan and 750-billion-euro coronavirus stimulus fund.

According to the Luxembourg-based ECJ, the countries lodged two different complaints to the rule, which allows cash to be withheld if there are violations of certain standards, such as the undermining of judicial independence. Warsaw and Budapest, which are the subject of growing concern over the erosion of core democratic standards and are facing multiple cases at the bloc's top court, had protested that this was ideologically-fuelled meddling in their domestic affairs.

"We believe that such solutions have no legal basis in the treaties, interfere with competences of member states and infringe on EU law," Polish government spokesperson Piotr Mueller said in a statement. "Disbursement of funds from the EU budget should be based only on meeting objective and concrete conditions, which unequivocally stem from regulations," he added. The EU had no competence to define the term "rule of law," nor to determine the factors used to assess whether rules behind that term are being observed, the government statement reads.

After months of opposition, Poland and Hungary had dropped their veto against the mechanism in exchange for an additional statement that effectively permitted a delay in the start of the tool. This allowed the two sceptical states to take the mechanism to the ECJ for scrutiny.

Similar articles

  • EU dismisses risks from AstraZeneca jabs

    EU dismisses risks from AstraZeneca jabs

    The medicine regulator of the EU (EMA) announced that it could not confirm fears that women and young adults were at a higher risk of rare blood clots with low platelets after vaccination with AstraZeneca's Covid-19 jab. Limitations in the way the data was collected meant that EMA could not identify any specific risk factor that made the condition, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), more likely, Reuters reported.

    128
  • Mediterranean countries discuss climate change, migration

    Mediterranean countries discuss climate change, migration

    Nine European Mediterranean countries held a summit in Athens on Friday afternoon to discuss issues ranging from climate change to migration and Afghanistan, news wires reported. The one-day gathering, dubbed the EUMED 9, brings together the leaders of Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia and Croatia. Commission head Ursula von der Leyen will also attend the meeting.

    127
  • Optimism about the future of the EU on the rise

    Optimism about the future of the EU on the rise

    It reached its highest level since 2009, trust at its highest since 2008

    Attitudes towards the EU remain positive and broadly stable, according to the latest Standard Eurobarometer conducted in June-July, the EU press service reported. While optimism about the future of the EU reached its highest level since 2009, trust in the EU remains at its highest since 2008, and support for the euro remains stable at its highest since 2004.

    85