The European Union is proving that it is only going to put its money where its values are.
Rebel nations Poland and Hungary risk losing EU funding if they don’t comply with the union’s democratic standards.
“A proposed sanctions mechanism would empower the European Commission, the EU executive, to suspend funds when it finds that a country’s courts are no longer independent, when their rulings are ignored or when criminal investigations are hampered,” writes The Wall Street Journal. “The proposal, which requires the approval of a majority of EU governments and the European Parliament, was tucked inside the opening move in what are likely to be years long negotiations on the bloc’s post-Brexit budget starting in 2021.”
The EU is also looking for ways to make up the €15 billion ($18 billion) a year that the U.K. used to contribute to the budget. 10 percent of the EU’s current budget comes for Britain.
However, the EU countries disagree about where the additional funding should come from. The wealthier nations don’t want to pick up the slack and nations in central and eastern Europe are already struggling to contribute to the EU budget.
The proposed sanctions offer the EU a cost-cutting solution.
Again, the sanctions are specifically targeting Poland and Hungary, both nations that have committed “undemocratic” actions when it comes to the media and the judiciary.
“For years, the EU has sought ways to punish Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party for its assaults on the independence of the judiciary. And as Hungary has curbed press freedom and taken other authoritarian steps, it, too, faces challenges from EU institutions. Under the bloc’s rules, however, it is difficult to discipline a country once it is a member,” writes the Christian Science Monitor.
Although Poland’s recent actions when it comes to its courts and Hungary censoring its media are frown upon by the EU, it appears that there is another point of contention influencing the EU to cut the funding to these nations. Migration policy.
“Poland and Hungary are particularly threatened, in a clash with Western Europe over the independence of Polish courts and Hungary’s crackdown on independent media and civil society organizations,” writes The WSJ. “Adding to the bad blood is a longer-running conflict over migration policy. Poland and Hungary still openly oppose any attempt by the EU to introduce quotas that would force countries to take in refugees in case of a repeat of the 2015 migrant influx.”
“Only we can make the decision about who we want to live with. They can’t say this in Brussels and Brussels cannot settle people here who we don’t want to live with” said Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister on immigration.
The Hungarian government is looking into the legality of these new sanctions.
“There are EU treaties in force, and we work on the basis of these. No other assumptions exist in a legal sense,” said Zoltan Kovacs, Hungarian government spokesman.
“For Poland and Hungary, ending aid from the EU would have significant consequences. Most of their infrastructure spending has come from the EU. And in 2016, the subsidy amounted to 2.6 percent of Poland’s gross national income and 4.2 percent of Hungary’s” writes the CS Monitor.
Author’s note: This will only push Poland and Hungary to want to follow in Britain’s footsteps. The politically socialist left is setting an agenda that will likely destroy itself. While the stated policies of “democratic values and the rule of law” are legitimate, the immigration policies being implemented and pushed by the larger EU countries are foolish and will change Europe forever. If this continues, you will only see more countries withdrawing from the EU.