October 16, 2021

Poland and Hungary play for time in ‘symbolic’ EU court case

Poland and Hungary have been telling the 27 judges of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for the previous two days why a brand new EU mechanism which hyperlinks subsidies to the respect for the rule of regulation just isn’t lawful.

Poland and Hungary have challenged the conditionality mechanism, which was agreed by nearly all of EU governments and got here into power in March, aiming to delay its implementation.

The brand new guidelines enable the suspension of EU funds if there are breaches of the rule of regulation in a member state which threat critically affecting the sound administration of EU subsidies in a “sufficiently direct” method.

The talk in the course of the Luxembourg listening to was a condensed abstract of the continued rule-of-law dispute between the EU and the 2 member states run by nationalist governments.

EU establishments have lined as much as defend the brand new guidelines and they’ve been backed up by 10 member states – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Eire, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.

The court listening to got here solely days after Poland’s controversial Constitutional Tribunal challenged the primacy of EU regulation, the muse of European integration.

And the EU Fee lately requested for a each day tremendous towards Poland for refusing to stick to ECJ rulings, all marking an escalation in the authorized battle between Warsaw and the EU.


On Monday and Tuesday (12 October), in the course of the ECJ listening to ,representatives of Poland and Hungary argued that the brand new guidelines had been unclear, unpredictable and duplicated current monitoring.

A lawyer for Hungary argued that the authorized foundation for the brand new rule was unlawful, and lacked correct authorized foundation.

Legal professionals for the 2 governments mentioned that the minimal requirements of the rule of regulation had not been outlined both by the treaties nor by case regulation, and obligations weren’t clear.

The 2 nations additionally mentioned that safety of EU funds was adequate underneath current monetary regulation guidelines, and that rule of regulation was adequately defended by means of the Article 7 sanctions process. Hungary and Poland have each been put underneath the Article 7 sanctions process.

“It was impressive to see how many member states, that usually don’t show up, supported EU institutions ,” John Morijn, a regulation and politics professor on the College of Groningen, informed EUobserver.

Morijn – who was in Luxembourg for the listening to – mentioned it was “impressive” how ECJ president Koen Lenaerts took the ground on Tuesday and requested whether or not a member state refusing to implement ECJ judgements was a critical rule of regulation violation and would qualify as such underneath the brand new rule – a transparent reference to Poland.

“I think that was a very powerful signal to the EU Commission and Council [of member states] that the whole notion of the binding nature of the ECJ rulings is non-negotiable, which is the most important message here,” Morijn identified.

Morijn mentioned the listening to, the place the 27 judges requested questions and made statements rebutting the notion that the rule of regulation was an undefinable political idea, was “hugely symbolic”.

On the Hungarian and Polish arguments, Morijn mentioned it was like being on “two different globes”.

“What was worrying to see is that there was no attempt by Poland and Hungary to engage, the purpose was to stall the application of the mechanism,” he mentioned.

Subsequent steps

The EU high court’s advocate basic is predicted to ship his opinion on 2 December, placing it into doubt if the EU high court will rule on the difficulty this 12 months.

In the meantime, the European Parliament has accused the EU Fee of delaying the implementation of the conditionality mechanism towards Poland and Hungary and has threatened to take the EU govt to court.

The fee has repeatedly mentioned it was getting ready circumstances and would ship out the primary inquiries to EU members involved in the course of the autumn.

EU funds at stake not solely concern subsidies from the bloc’s funds, but additionally from the €800bn Covid-19 restoration fund.

Hungary and Poland’s plans to unlock these funds haven’t but been accredited by the fee due to considerations over judicial independence and corruption.

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