“I welcome these judgments, which follow the position that the Commission, the European Parliament, the Council, and ten Member States defended in the procedure,” reads the statement of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the judgments of the European Court of Justice on the General Conditionality Regulation. Other European politicians are of a similar opinion, but Fidesz has sharply criticized the ruling. According to the party, it was “a historic mistake to use European cooperation to aggressively spread an ideology.”
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
“The European Court of Justice confirms the validity of the general conditionality Regulation. […] The Court upholds the legality of this important tool that enables us to protect better the EU budget and the financial interests of the Union against breaches of the principles of the rule of law,” wrote Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a brief press release following the European Court of Justice ruling.
As we have also reported, the CJEU has rejected Hungary’s and Poland’s claim that the EU can cut funds to member states that violate the rule of law. According to the decision, the so-called rule of law mechanism is legal. The Luxembourg-based body announced its ruling early Wednesday morning, with the two countries also bearing the costs of the proceedings. The government critical portal Népszava claims that the court broadcast the ruling live for the first time in its history, which could be a sign of the case’s importance.
Ursula von der Leyen promised that the Commission will now carefully consider the reasoning behind the rulings and their potential impact on the further steps they will take under the regulation.
Taking into account these judgments, we will adopt in the following weeks guidelines providing further clarity about how we apply the mechanism in practice.”
said the president.
“A ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union on Wednesday has created a new tool to protect the Community budget and ensure that taxpayers’ money goes where it belongs,” said Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, in the plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday.
Hahn said the European Commission is analyzing the ruling and will soon begin implementing the regulation.
Many MEPs welcome the ruling but are disappointed by the delay
“The continuing delays in the introduction of the mechanism show that the European Commission is not serious about protecting the rule of law,” said Finnish MEP Petri Sarvamaa of the European People’s Party at a press conference on the rule of law mechanism in the European Parliament on Wednesday morning. According to the MEP, not only Hungary and Poland but also several other EU member states have problems with the rule of law, which should be respected by all.
In addition to Sarvamaa, Spanish Social Democrat Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, German Green politician Daniel Freund, and Momentum MP Katalin Cseh also commented on the ruling.
Cseh said that “the Hungarian government interprets the European Court’s decision as a punishment of Brussels for the child protection law,” but the ruling “in reality has nothing to do with the homophobic Hungarian law, just as the latter has nothing to do with child protection.” She added that the ruling was directed solely against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “toxic populist brand.”
Cseh expressed concern that the European Commission had “delayed” its guidance on the application of the rule of law mechanism and called on the agency to begin applying it “immediately.”
Eider Gardiazabal Rubial also described the CJEU’s ruling as “fantastic”: “It is worth looking at the reasons for the Court’s judgment: Solidarity, common values, trust between the Member States. These values must be respected not only at the time of accession but throughout the membership,” said the MEP, who called on the Commission to act immediately in the interests of EU citizens.
Daniel Freund, MEP for the German Greens, was in full agreement with the previous speakers: “Now the Court of Justice has also ruled that the mechanism can – and must – be used. There are no more loopholes for the Commission.” He said that “the rule of law situation in the EU has become more serious by the month,” while the Commission “has done nothing to promote the mechanism.”
Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi accused the Hungarian government of “suggesting a link between the LGBTIQ lobby and Soros organizations” and also expressed dissatisfaction with the European Commission’s “hesitation” in applying the regulation.
Fidesz MEP: “It is a historical mistake to use European cooperation to aggressively spread an ideology”
Balázs Hidvéghi, a member of the European Parliament for Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, said the decision “leads to a dead-end” and stressed that “it is a historical mistake to use European cooperation to aggressively spread an ideology. According to Hidvéghi, the EU “abuses its power to force every state into a leftist straitjacket. He regretted that “a theoretically independent European court has become a partner in the construction of a federalist, centralist Europe.”
Hungary and Poland will continue to insist on common-sense policies,”
he said, adding, “We will protect our borders, we will protect our children and we will protect our way of life.”
Featured image via Vivien Cher Benko/Prime Minister’s Press Office/MTI