EU affairs minister on Monday (16 September) discussed for the first time in public concerns over respect for the rule of law within EU member states. In recent years, the EU has been struggling to deal with member states, especially Hungary and Poland, where judicial overhauls and other key legislation weakened democratic checks on the government. The EU can either target specific domestic measures which appear to break EU rules, or launch a sanctions procedure, known as Article 7 – which ultimately needs unanimity of member states to punish their peer, a very unlikely scenario. During the discussions on Monday, which was pushed by the current Finnish presidency of the EU, clear divisions emerged between member states that want stronger monitoring, and those that have already been targeted by existing tools and worry about new ones. While several ministers highlighted the need for a well-functioning rule of law as the basis of the EU, ministers from Hungary and Poland emphasised the particular national characteristics of different legal traditions. “The EU is not just a collective of states which want to enhance its economic well-being through mutual trade, but we are also a union of values, like democracy, fundamental rights, and… Read full this story
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