Lead candidate (Spitzenkandidat) of the European People’s Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, thinks the European Union needs a tougher and more effective rule of law mechanism than Article 7. Weber was quoted on Monday in Politico’s newsletter.
When asked about whether—and how—he intends to deal with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Weber said:
We will adopt a mechanism that allows [us] to restrict access to EU funding in case of serious deficiencies in the rule of law [during this week’s Strasbourg plenary session].
Weber added that the proposal was put forward by Commissioner Günther Oettinger and he supported it. As a second step in dealing with the issues concerning Hungary, he is looking for other solutions to avoid waiting for the “complicated and long process” of Article 7. Weber went on to further explain the reason behind his push for a stricter law:
I truly believe in the need to set up a genuine and more stringent rule of law mechanism that is independent and applies to all member states.
Weber thinks it’s important that the mechanism used to monitor member states not be politicized and utilized for political gain. He also explained that although many don’t view him as Orbán’s toughest critic, the EPP cleared the way for the Article 7 proceedings against Hungary and also refuses to give any member countries special treatment.
The politician said he hopes the European Court of Justice will come to a decision quickly regarding the two central Hungarian issues: the university and NGO laws.