Democracy Digest: Irony Alive and Well in Poland and Hungary

Ten member states as well as the European Commission itself will be opposing the Warsaw-Budapest tandem, who argue that the definition of the rule of law is too vague and the mechanism merely replicates the already ongoing Article 7 procedure, but gives Brussels more room for manoeuvre while also scrapping the right of veto by member states.

Highlighting the importance of the issue, all 27 CJEU judges will participate in the deliberations, which began this week. Even though the court is applying an accelerated procedure, a ruling is not expected until early next year. However, the Advocate General of the court will issue an opinion on December 2, which can be taken as guidance on how the court will ultimately rule.

Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga called the EU's new rule-of-law provisions "ideology-based political witch hunts". She wrote in a Facebook post that the EU "created unilateral accusations instead of dialogue, unresolvable conflicts instead of mutual understanding, and has become a tool for political self-interest instead of a democratic exchange of views."

On the contrary, retorted MEP Katalin Cseh from the liberal opposition Momentum (Renew) party, who argued that it is high time to make use of the rule-of-law mechanism. "In the last 10 years, the EU had no idea how to deal with leaders who trampled on our common values. We have designed the rule-of-law mechanism… and it is time to use it!"

Meanwhile, the fallout from the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruling on October 7 that some key EU Treaty articles are incompatible with the country's constitution rumbles on.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told fellow Commissioners on Wednesday that in response to the Polish Constitutional...

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