On the 1st of October 2021, The Good Lobby Profs delivered a press release to urge EU institutions not to violate EU law by approving Polish and Hungarian Recovery Plans without these Member States first fully implementing rule of law demands.
So far, the Commission has not submitted a proposal to greenlight funding of the Polish and Hungarian National Recovery and Resilience Plans. This state of play is erroneously presented as purely political. A report co-written by four law professors shows that, on the contrary, there are hard legal barriers to what is politically possible. Rule of law requirements are hard law. Any action to propose and approve EU COVID recovery funding without first solving well-documented problems with judicial independence and fighting corruption would run into severe problems with EU law in at least 5 different ways:
Under EU law, as interpreted by the Court of Justice, rule of law requirements are clear, precise, unconditional and universal. They are binding on Poland and Hungary in the same way that these requirements are binding on all other EU Member States. It was concrete and deliberate rule of law undermining actions in Poland and Hungary that led the Council to adopt specific country-specific recommendations to correct them. Only concrete and deliberate restorative action by the Polish and Hungarian governments – not just vague promises and general declarations – should now trigger unlocking EU funds. The Polish and Hungarian governments are fully the masters of their own release.
“As soon as an independent and impartial Polish judge like Igor Tuleya [now stripped of his immunity and suspended by a body that is not a court the so-called Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court] is back in his toga and hearing cases, nothing would prevent EU institutions from releasing EU COVID recovery funds for the benefit of Polish EU citizens. And as soon as the Hungarian government puts in place an effective and independently run system to prevent and track corruption with EU funds, in the same way as it exists in other Member States, EU COVID recovery should come the way of Hungarian EU citizens.”
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Pdf version of the Press Release
30 September 2021
28 September 2021