241. The rule of law debate within the EU

In the last few days I have assisted, with dismay, to the rule of law debate in the context of the approval of EU budgets for the coming six years. Hungary and Poland are digging their heels, refusing to approve the budget unless funds release is decoupled from rule of law performance. Their argument is that these are separate issues and should be handled as such. The disagreement really hinges on each party’s understanding of the EU. In fact, the different understandings of what it is, in different member states, pose one of its greatest challenges. Some see the EU as a common market, an economic construct, but others see it as a political union. The answer really is in its founding treaties, which have democracy and the rule of law at their centre, and economic cooperation attached to them. This is the Union Poland and Hungary joined. They may have done it for economic reasons, but they entered a, first and foremost, rule of law, democratic club. Rule of law is not negotiable 

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