‘Rule of law is no joke!’ Verhofstadt explodes as Poland takes legal action against EU

Poland and Hungary vow to retain veto from EU budget

Last year, the EU announced €750billion of the €1.8trillion budget will be used as a Coronavirus Recovery Fund to help rebuild the bloc following the outbreak of the deadly pandemic, which has ravaged economies around the world.

However, the bloc has been attacked after it wants to link the behaviour of member states with access to EU funds by means of a “rule of law” mechanism.

This means any country which pursues policies which the EU feels do not uphold its core values will lose access to the vital funds.

This week Poland’s Minister of Justice/Prosecutor General announced he will bring action against the EU’s rule of law.

But MEP Guy Verhofstadt has lashed out at the Eastern European country and urged the Commission to show the rule of law is “no joke”.

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He tweeted: “Unfunny irony: Poland uses heavily disputed tribunal to give its attack on the EU rule of law mechanism a shine of legality.

“All eyes on the European Commission now to show the rule of law is no joke.”

Relations between the bloc and Poland have plummeted to new depths after Warsaw – alongside Hungary – vowed to maintain a united front and continue to veto the EU budget and the coronavirus relief fund.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban argued the EU cannot attach rule of law conditions to funds unless it changed its founding treaty.

Both countries blocked €1.8trillion worth of funds, including hundreds of billions due to be disbursed to help the bloc recover out of a double-dip recession.

Last month, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attacked the bloc, arguing other countries, could be affected by the “mechanism” set up by the EU.

The Polish premiere said: “Today it is Poland.

“Tomorrow it could be the Italian or Portuguese government and then their funding is taken off.

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“It is a paradox, this mechanism circumvents the treaties.

“We are struggling to ensure that no country, today or tomorrow, is deprived of funds due to an arbitrary and non-transparent mechanism.

“This is a fundamental question of trust based on European law.

“We must not allow bad rules to pass along with the good recovery fund.”

He went on to attack the bloc claiming countries like his and Hungary are targeted when problems arise.

Mr Morawiecki said: “The EU looks like a marriage in crisis.

“It has the financial crisis behind it, Brexit, and it is experiencing growing inequalities.

“And when problems arise, it takes its toll on Poland or Hungary.

“It’s time for an examination of conscience.

“What went wrong? For example, hasn’t the euro led to deeper differences?

“What has it brought to Italy, a country that has been stagnating for more than twenty years?

“Our main concern is that the mechanism can be used arbitrarily and for political reasons.

“To get out of this unprecedented crisis, it would be appropriate to put aside the ideologically motivated attacks on the national sovereignty of some countries under the excuse of ‘conditionality’ of EU funds and move quickly to the reconstruction program.”

The bloc is currently investigating Hungary and Poland for undermining the independence of their judiciaries and media.

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