The Greens demand that Poland and Hungary be punished for violating the rule of law. An “Alliance of Parliaments” is supposed to increase the pressure on the EU Commission.
In the dispute over possible procedures for reducing EU funds for countries such as Poland and Hungary , the Greens have called for an “alliance of parliaments”. “The pro-European parties in the Bundestag must now support their colleagues in the EU Parliament,” said MEP Sven Giegold of the German Press Agency. Together, the parliaments could increase the pressure on the EU Commission so that it would finally use the so-called rule of law mechanism against the governments of Hungary and Poland.
Giegold accused the Union and the SPD of not paying enough attention to the rule of law problems in the EU in the federal election campaign. “Europe will not impress the autocrats in Hungary and Poland with words, but only with financial sanctions,” said the spokesman for the German Greens in the European Parliament.
No proceedings initiated so far
The European Parliament last called on the EU Commission in June, threatening a failure to act, to finally use its new instrument to punish violations of the rule of law in the EU. However, the authority, headed by Ursula von der Leyen, has not yet initiated any relevant proceedings and Parliament is now working on an application to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The procedure for the protection of the rule of law provides that EU countries can reduce funds from the community budget if there is a risk of misuse of the funds due to violations of the rule of law. Critics accuse both the Hungarian and Polish governments of influencing the judiciary contrary to EU standards. They also see a threat to the EU budget because, as a rule, national law enforcement authorities and courts are responsible for investigating possible misuse of EU funds.
Poland and Hungary hold against it
Poland and Hungary reject the allegations and have also sued the ECJ against the new procedure. They assume that the so-called conditionality mechanism is incompatible with current EU law.
From the point of view of the European Parliament, the fact that the EU Commission has not yet initiated any proceedings is due to the fact that, following an agreement between the heads of state and government, it is actually only supposed to take action when the ECJ over the lawsuit by Hungary and Poland against the new regulation Has decided. This concession made the governments in Budapest and Warsaw last year abandon their blockade of important EU budget decisions. However, the European Parliament is of the opinion that the Commission is not bound by the deal.
“Very low” chance of success
According to a report by Parliament’s legal service, the chances of success of the proposed action for inaction are “very low”. The Commission clearly has a margin of discretion in deciding whether and when to send communications to individual member states, according to the text that was first reported by the “Handelsblatt” and that is also available to the German Press Agency.
In addition, the lawyers believe that it is possible that Parliament did not say explicitly enough against whom the new instrument should be used when the proceedings for the action for failure to act were initiated in June. The EU Commission also complained about this in its statement.
Parliament’s vice- president Katarina Barley (SPD) told the “Handelsblatt” that the lawsuit against it was not about a single process, but about the fact that the commission did not apply the law at all.
At the end of the first day of the summit, Merkel confirmed a “controversial but very honest discussion” with Prime Minister Viktor Orban about the new Hungarian law on the restriction of information about homosexuality . “We have all made it clear here what fundamental values we are pursuing,” said the Chancellor. The EU Commission will continue to deal with the Hungarian law. Such talks would be needed more often because there were different ideas about the future of Europe, not just with Hungary, said Merkel. “That means this discussion must continue.
Putin Guest Article on better relationship with Europe
In a guest contribution on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Hitler’s Germany attack on the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin has campaigned for better relations with Europe and at the same time clearly criticized the EU, NATO and the USA.
Putin writes in the article for the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” that the end of the Cold War was linked to the hope of a unified continent that would be held together by common values and interests.
It was in this spirit that Russia wanted to develop its relations with the Europeans. “However, a different approach prevailed. This was based on the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance, which itself was a relic of the Cold War,” said the Russian head of state.
The eastward expansion of NATO was also controversial in Western Europe and the USA. Critics warned of a danger to the stability of Europe and feared a weakening of the reform forces in Russia. NATO, in turn, defended the enlargement steps on the grounds that NATO was not pushing itself on the countries, but that they had applied for membership of their own free will. In Poland and the Baltic States, for example, a large majority of the population supported joining NATO.