Euranet: The next battle for rule of law in the EU will be fought in court

Camino Mortera, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, believes that Hungary and Poland may have a case to answer. “This case that has been brought to the European Court of Justice by Poland and Hungary is not –  and I know this may sound provocative – the latest crazy idea of Orban or Law and Justice [party], but is part of a legal debate among experts in the field on whether the European Union really has the competence to approve a regulation that would make access to EU funds conditional on respect for the rule of law.”

From a legal point of view, Poland and Hungary have strong arguments, says Mortera.

Firstly, there is already a legal instrument to monitor and deal with potential violations of the Union’s democratic principles or the rule of law, the famous article 7 of the Treaties. Secondly, as far as the budget is concerned, there are also other mechanisms for overseeing the use of EU funds, such as the EU prosecutor and the European anti-fraud office.

Mortera is expecting a very political ruling.

“The Court of Justice will certainly be political in its decision, because it is a decision that affects the essence and the future of the European Union, so it is very difficult for the European Court not to take the political aspect into account. But from a legal point of view, Hungary and Poland, I think, have two very strong arguments on the issue.”

Among others, the case could shape the fate of a potential fiscal union.