Legally unsound extortion in the name of the “rule of law” – The European Parliament wants to launch inter-institutional warfare against the Commission

2021. 10. 15.

The European Parliament and the Commission will fight in court, following yesterday’s decision by the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). Behind closed doors, on Thursday afternoon, JURI members voted by a large majority in favour of the Parliament taking legal action to blackmail the Commission into applying the rule of law conditionality on Hungary and Poland. The decision came as no surprise after JURI’s liberal president Adrián Vázquez Lázara and green party MEP Sergey Lagodinsky, the rapporteur on the proposal, had already announced the “verdict” on the case prior to the meeting, despite strict confidentiality rules, and anticipated that MEPs would support the action aiming to exert pressure.

Under the Rules of Procedure, the Committee on Legal Affairs is responsible for making a recommendation to the President of the European Parliament as to whether the EP should bring a case before the European Court of Justice. Green Party rule of law champion MEP Lagodinsky has clearly taken a stand in favour of a lawsuit. In line with the rules, the Parliament’s Legal Service also presented its position at the meeting, which is reportedly cautious by nature and highlights the pitfalls of a possible lawsuit. Although legal experts say the EP has little chance of winning the case, JURI members lined up in support of the left-wing political action: the proposal was adopted with 13 MEPs in favour, 3 against and 6 abstentions.

Once again, the European left has shown that it will not shy away from any means to achieve its goal, that is, the Commission’s withdrawal of EU funds from Hungary and Poland. The left, always concerned about the future of integration, is even willing to stir up EU institutions against each other to this end. It is disappointing that the Committee on Legal Affairs is assisting this extra-judicial use of power for extortion.

Subsequently, in accordance with the provisions of the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, President Sassoli, on behalf of the Parliament, will bring an action against the Commission before the European Court of Justice, as recommended by JURI. In the action, the European Parliament will have to prove the Commission’s misconduct.