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.
Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.
Madeline McQuillan is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a contributor to the Daily Brief. Her expertise is in European politics and transatlantic relations. She holds a Master of Science in European and International Public Policy from the London School of Economics.