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The opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union that the court should dismiss the action brought by Hungary and Poland against the so-called rule-of-law conditionality regulation is “not the verdict, just an opinion”, Justice Minister Judit Varga said.
Campos Sanchez-Bordona, the Advocate-General, on Thursday issued an opinion that Hungary and Poland’s suit against the European Union decision to tie EU funding to rule-of-law conditions “should be dismissed”. The conditionality decision is in line with EU law and the principle of legal certainty, Sanchez-Bordona said in the opinion which precedes a court decision.
Hungary and Poland turned to the ECJ last March with the complaint that the European Parliament’s decree, which was endorsed by the European Council, lacked a legal basis.
In his opinion, Sanchez-Bordona said the decree aimed to protect EU values by implementing a financial conditionality facility rather than implementing sanction mechanisms similar to Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union. The decree requires a “close connection” between violations of the rule of law and the execution of budgetary measures, and so it will be implemented only when the infringement on the rule of law is directly linked with the implementation of the EU budget, he said. The Advocate General’s opinion has no binding effect on the ECJ.
Varga said on Facebook in an English-language post that the opinion of Campos Sánchez-Bordona “ignores the fact that the conditionality regulation suffers from a manifest error in law, which alone would justify the annulment”. “Furthermore, its legal basis remains erroneous while it circumvents the Treaties and infringes basic rule of law requirements, in particular the principles of legal certainty and legislative clarity,” she added.
Varga said “before tears of joy well up in the eyes of the Brussels elite and the left-liberal media, let me just remind everyone: this is only a proposal. The judgement is not expected until the end of the year, early next year”.
“The Hungarian Government maintains its position and hopes that the Court will base its judgment solely on legal arguments and common sense, it won’t follow the erroneous arguments of the Advocate General, and will instead annul the regulation or call on the EU legislator to amend it,” she said. “We say no to blackmailing with the rule of law!”
The lawmakers representing ruling Fidesz in the European Parliament said they would continue to make every effort to resist “blackmail” masked as “rule of law”. The “so-called conditionality regulation” is obviously aimed at depriving member states of EU funds if they fail to meet the EU’s expectation, the group said in a statement.