Guy Verhofstadt discusses 'weaknesses' within the EU
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The Belgian MEP echoed calls by a group of cross-party members of the European Parliament for the Commission to enforce the Rule of Law conditionality regulation or face legal proceedings.
The MEPs sent a letter to the Commission urging President Ursula von der Leyen to act by June 1.
MEPs from the EPP, the S&D, Renew Europe and the Greens warned “a lack of action by the Commission by 1 June 2021, will be considered a ‘failure to act’, under which the European Parliament will bring legal action against the Commission.”
They added: “With the deadline of 1 June 2021 in sight, we call on the Commission to take the first steps.
“Any other course of action will leave no other choice but to push for legal action.”
Katarina Barley, Birgit Sippel, Róża Thun, Sophie in’t Veld, Katalin Cseh, and Daniel Freund signed a draft joint statement.
Sharing the news, Mr Verhofstadt tweeted: “The assault on the rule of law in several EU countries continues.
“Time is running out for the Commission to act…or the European Parliament will take it to court.”
But his tweet, aimed as a swipe at Hungary and Poland, backfired when commentators reminded Mr Verhofstadt the Commission’s inefficiency was one of the reasons the UK left the bloc.
One Twitter user replied: “Another reason why the UK left. Thank God!”
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And another: “Says the cuck who has no respect for UK law and the will of the British people.”
Someone else wrote: “Why not leave out the middle man and unilaterally take action without the EU Commission?
“They’re only good for can-kicking.”
“The beginning of the end,” added another user.
Earlier this month, German minister Michael Roth, together with his Portuguese and Slovenian counterparts, proposed two mechanisms to protect and strengthen the rule of law across the bloc.
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Brussels has been locked in an ongoing dispute with Poland and Hungary over controversial legal reforms which the EU claims endanger judicial independence.
The bloc has consequently launched proceedings in accordance with Article 7 of the EU’s constitution, which could theoretically see both sides lose their European Council voting rights unless they back down.
Both Poland, led by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, of the Law and Justice Party, and Hungary, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, of Fidesz, have long claimed Brussels is attempting to punish both nations for having elected right-of-centre governments.
The two countries won separate tax disputes with the European Commission last week after the European Court of Justice ruled in their favour.
The court rejected the Commission’s appeal of a lower court ruling upholding Hungary’s 2014 advertising tax.
Judges also concluded Poland’s lower tax rates for smaller retailers should not be regarded as illegal state aid.
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