Saturday, April 13, 2024

EU slaps economic sanctions on Poland, Hungary: “EU laws above national laws”

Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, left, with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Budapest

Are European Union (EU) diktats overrule the one of a European nation? Well as Poland and Hungary have found out, it does. 

The European Union has imposed economic sanctions on Poland and Hungary for violating the laws governing the EU budget. 

“EU laws are above national laws, even above the constitution of respective member states,” said EU in a press release. 

The European Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of economic sanctions against its two members (478 to 155). 

As per European Union, Poland and Hungary are not respecting these common EU laws, and are accused of curbing the freedom of courts, media and academics. In addition, they are accused of depriving LGBTQ+ people and migrants of their rights. 

As per European Union laws introduced in January 2021, EU member countries that bend the rule of law are not eligible to receive funds from the EU. 

In October 2021, Poland’s top court had rejected the supremacy of EU laws over some judicial matters. A constitutional tribunal in Poland had stated that some EU treaty articles were incompatible with Poland’s constitution.

The two countries had appealed against these European laws in the European Court of Justice but their plea was dismissed in February earlier this year.

With billions of Euros at stake, this decision is bad news for both Poland and Hungary, particularly for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who faces an election next month.

While the timing of this decision is just a coincidence, since the process was in the works since last year, still the decision to rob these countries of funds in the middle of a refugee crisis has been met with widespread derision. 

During the ongoing war in Ukraine, Poland has taken close to 1.5 million refugees, while Hungary has received nearly a quarter of a million refugees. Now with this humanitarian crisis on their hands, they also know that there won’t be any help coming from the EU.

In addition, Poland has been pushed as the first line of defence against Russian aggression.

European Union’s detractors have for long complained about the EU’s meddling in a member country’s internal affairs, one of the main reasons for the Brexit vote in Britain. Now, with the EU holding money from its member countries, in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, those complaints about the EU are only going to grow.

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