The EU mechanism that allows for the punishment of states disrespecting the rule of law will have to be applied, said the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Katarina Barley, in an interview with the German weekly "Der Spiegel”, speaking in reference to Poland and Hungary.
On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU funds’ conditionality mechanism, in which this body criticised the European Commission for not launching the procedure envisaged in the conditionality decree amid “the most obvious cases of violating the rule of law in the EU”.
According to Ms Barley, Viktor Orban and the Law and Justice party are trying to decompose the rule of law not only in their states, but throughout the rest of Europe as well. In her opinion, the EU has not been doing everything they could to impede that process, but the conditionality mechanism could become a tool to do so.
Despite Hungary and Poland having already filed lawsuits against that mechanism, the EP VP believes that “the fact that somebody raises doubts over a given law does not mean it should not be implemented at all”.
“Der Spiegel” pointed out that Poland could make use of the fact that even Germany does not acknowledge every ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU. Earlier, the German Constitutional Court accused the top EU court of overstepping its authority over the purchase of governmental bonds by Europe's central bank. In response, the European Commission launched procedures against Germany over breaching the rules.
Katarina Barley expressed conviction that it will be difficult to persuade PiS and Viktor Orban to change their approach, however, as she said, “the issues of separation of powers and an independent judiciary are the cornerstones of the European community.”
“Today there are even more countries that are following this path which is why it is important to make it clear that this comes at a price. Otherwise, Europe will suffer irreparable damage,” she said.