Skip to content
EU bullying of its most problematic members shows its contempt for democracy — RT World News

A court decision that could deprive Hungary and Poland of access to EU Covid funds sets a very dangerous precedent

Poland and Hungary are now well and truly at the mercy of unelected Eurocrats. Both are accused of flouting European Union law, and on Wednesday the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed their legal challenge to the mechanism that allows Brussels to withhold funds from member states.

Poland is accused of breaching the EU’s rule of law due to the lack of independence of its judiciary, and Hungary is accused of being in breach for corruption. The CJEU judgment stated that “the Court dismisses the actions brought by Hungary and Poland in their entirety“, and when it comes to democratic principles”the European Union must be able to defend these values, within the limits of its powers.” As a result, billions of euros in Covid recovery funds can now be withheld in Warsaw and Budapest.

This historic judgment, however, could have more profound consequences than the simple withholding of these funds. The decision sets a very dangerous precedent, as the Brussels bureaucracy now has the ability to withhold money from member states it believes are not playing by the rules.

It is generally recognized that the EU has always sought to centralize power by deflecting it from member states. But this is usually done gradually, and often behind closed doors. Not this time, however, as the move represents a significant shift in the balance of power between Brussels and EU member states.

EU bullying of its most problematic members shows its contempt for democracy — RT World News

The ECJ judgment clarifies who the bosses really are, and they are not the democratically elected leaders; rather, they are bureaucrats who are accountable to no one. The decision therefore raises questions of democracy and accountability. Indeed, unelected Brussels officials will now have the ability to judge the actions of democratically elected governments and then withhold funds as they see fit. This is an extremely dangerous development which goes directly against the democratic demands of the EU.

Indeed, even this week MEPs have been lyrical about their determination to defend democracy in Ukraine. Yet I find it somewhat hypocritical that, although they are ready to protect the so-called democracy of a non-member state, they rejoice when democracy is overthrown within the EU. The obvious irony is lost on these MEPs, blinded by their hatred of the Eurosceptic governments in Warsaw and Budapest.

Unsurprisingly, following the CJEU ruling, MEPs are now demanding swift action from the European Commission. German Green MEP Daniel Freund tweeted: “It’s time to finally act against rule of law violators in our union.” Similarly, another German MEP, Moritz Körner of the Free Democrats, said:The European Commission must now fulfill its legal obligation and initiate the rule of law mechanism. There must be no more rule of law discounts in the EU.”

The attitude of MEPs should come as no surprise, as the European Parliament has for some time been urging the European Commission to penalize Poland and Hungary. Indeed, in October, the European Parliament launched legal proceedings against the Commission for its unwillingness to act. However, while MEPs may well rejoice, they should be aware that although this time it will be Poland and Hungary facing EU bullying, next time it could be their own country.

More importantly, how did Poland and Hungary react to the judgment? The simple answer is, not while lying down. The Poles have already indicated that they will refuse to recognize the decision, and Polish Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Kowalski said:This is the end of the EU as we know it. We must defend Polish sovereignty.”

EU bullying of its most problematic members shows its contempt for democracy — RT World News

Hungarians, too, denounced the judgment as a “political judgment.” Moreover, last weekend, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced:For them [the EU]the rule of law is a tool with which they can mold us in their image…they are now waging a holy war: a rule of law jihad.” This was seen in some quarters as Hungary’s first step out of the bloc, although this was quickly denied by Orban’s government.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that relations between the troublesome duo and Brussels have hit rock bottom. Poles and Hungarians will not only appeal the decision, but will seek to broaden the debate on the legitimacy of the ECJ to make such a judgment. This has the potential to challenge the entire EU legal order, so the stakes will be higher than ever.

Eurocrats and federalist MEPs may be rejoicing right now, but they may not have the last word. When the EU reveals its dictatorial and anti-democratic tendencies, it often fails. Just think of when he failed to impose the EU Constitution as a prime example, or even Brexit. This latest judgment could represent another of those moments when he crosses the line and gets a democratic kick in the teeth, which will probably come out on top in Hungary’s parliamentary elections in April.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

rt Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.