Another bad rule of law report for Poland and Hungary: no change of course in sight
The European Commission presented its annual Rule of Law Report in Brussels today. Even though the report deals with the state of the rule of law in the entire European Union, two Member States again stand out negatively. Poland and Hungary, for example, are said to have made progress in reforming their judicial systems; however, it remains to be seen whether these reforms will actually have a positive impact on the independence of the judiciary. In the area of media freedom and the fight against corruption, nonetheless, there have again been significant setbacks. Civil society organizations continue to be under enormous pressure. The European Commission continues to speak of “serious concerns” about the state of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary and of “serious doubts” about their reform efforts.
Daniel Freund, responsible for the rule of law mechanism for the Greens in the Budgetary Control Committee, comments:
“For the fourth year in a row, the Rule of Law reports for Poland and Hungary are poor. It is true that cosmetic reform efforts can be observed in both countries, especially regarding the judicial sector. However, these efforts exist primarily on paper. At the same time, fundamental rights are being further curtailed and media freedom massively restricted. In the current situation, the release of frozen EU funds is out of the question. The European Commission’s money lever is having an effect, but it must be used much more intensively. Ursula von der Leyen needs to make clear that EU funds are not available in exchange for a few sham reforms. Gradual improvements do not mean a change of course. Both countries continue to head straight for autocratic conditions. There will only be a return to democracy and to the rule of law if the European Commission massively expands its list of demands.”
You can find the European Commission’s current rule of law report here:
For the fourth year in a row, the Rule of Law reports for Poland and Hungary are poor.