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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

European Commission wants more power over Member States

The European Commission presented a new proposal that links the EU budget to the "rule of law." 

However, the justice ministers of Poland and Hungary do not agree with this option and begun talking about cooperation between the two countries in the field of justice.

The topic of conversation from early June were, among others activities of the European Commission (EC), which seeks to introduce the possibility of suspending or limiting payments from the EU budget based on the so-called assessment of the rule of law. During the talks, the justice ministers of Poland and Hungary acknowledged that this type of solution would have an "outside of the treaty" character. In their view, this would constitute a breach of the Treaties by granting powers unknown to the Treaties to the European institutions and, as a result, restrict the rights of the Member States. The more so that the introduction of such a mechanism would allow arbitrary actions.

Polish Deputy Minister of Justice Marcin Romanowski points out that the provision would supposedly protect the EU's financial interests, but in reality it would be the opposite, because it would protect the ""rule of law" as defined by the EC by threatening to suspend, reduce or deprive part of budgetary funds on the basis of unfounded premises. 

Pursuant to this proposal, the EC would receive instruments enabling de facto control of the financing stream, which it will be able to apply adequately to the assessment of the degree of violation of the rule of law in a given Member State.

The presented criteria seem to be more political than legal, which raises the risk of their instrumentalization. The more so that the concept of "deficiencies in the field of the rule of law" is extremely fluid, if only because of the differences in the systems of judicial authorities and investigative bodies occurring in different EU countries, and the current political debate has revealed differences in the interpretation of the rule of law and its borders.

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