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Before Christmas, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán played the lead role in the melodrama of the Rule of Law Conditionality – would or wouldn´t Poland and Hungary, in the end, veto Next Generation EU, EU’s 750 billion euro recovery fund, meant to support member states hit by economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic?
In the end they would – in order to avoid the Rule of Law Conditionality, which threatened to deprive the two member states with substantial EU-funds if they failed to comply with EU’s values (democracy and Rule of Law) as described in the Treaty’s Article 2. But in the very end both the recovery fund and the Rule of Law Conditionality was sorted out by a diluted compromise that left no one happy – except the governments in Poland and Hungary.
Since then not much happened. The Commission never started enforcing the rules, because of a “gentleman’s agreement” between EU’s heads of states of not doing so until Poland and Hungary has had the chance to question the legality of the whole procedure at the European Court of Justice (EUCJ).
In March Poland and Hungary did exactly that – brought a case to the EUCJ. The European Parliament was not pleased and threatened to take the Commission to the EUCJ for passivity, if it failed to enforce the rules before 1st of June 2021.
Status: much ado, but so far no effect of the Rule of Law Conditionality.
Is this precisely what the Hungarian and Polish government planned for? What exactly is in the Rule of Law Conditionality as agreed in December 2020? Will it eventually have some effects in member states, who break EU’s values? When?
Online debate with Central Europe-expert Daniel Hegedüs, Hungarian MEP Katalin Cseh and Danish MEP Morten Helveg Petersen. Journalist Vibe Termansen will moderate the debate.
Daniel Hegedüs is Central European Fellow at The German Marshall Fund in Berlin and expert in populism and democratic backsliding in Central Europe.
Katalin Cseh (Momentum) is member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe Group and a member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights.
Morten Helveg Petersen
Morten Helveg Petersen (Det Radikale Venstre) is member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe Group and substitute in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
The event is held with financial support from the European Parliament and Europa-Nævnet.