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European Court of Justice to rule on Polish and Hungarian rule of law

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European Court of Justice to rule on Polish and Hungarian rule of law

European Court of Justice to rule on Polish and Hungarian rule of law Photo: Geoff Pugh/The Independent

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will announce the verdict in a case brought by Hungary and Poland over the rule-of-law mechanism today.

The EU established the rule-of-law mechanism last month to block funding to member states that are in democratic decline. EU bodies and human rights organizations have accused Poland and Hungary of threatening the rule-of-law. These two nations are challenging the mechanism before the ECJ, claiming the tool has no legal basis.

The ECJ’s advocate general said that the top court should dismiss the challenge, and the court tends to follow the top lawyer’s opinion. But even if Hungary fails to block the rule-of-law mechanism, it will likely challenge the European Commission’s procedure by other judicial means.

Such attempts would be hindered if Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is defeated in the upcoming parliamentary election on April 3. Opinion polls predict a close race as Orban faces a united opposition. However, it appears unlikely that the rule-of-law mechanism will prevent undemocratic practices. The EU has continually overlooked the gerrymandered electoral system and the biased media environment in Hungary, which have provided Orban’s Fidesz party with a strategic advantage and increased worries that the election will be rigged.

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