Hungary to be example in EC’s proposed democracy watch?
Citing the specific examples of Hungary and Romania, the Financial Times reports today that the EC will be meeting on August 28 to discuss “new mechanisms to ensure EU states adhere to democracy and the rule of law and avoid any repeat of … worrying reversals…”
Among the proposals to be considered is the establishment of an independent “Copenhagen Commission” to monitor member states’ adherence to democratic principles; increasing the severity of possible sanctions on a given country; and withholding of EU funding.
While EC officials commented to the Financial Times that “they do not plan to adopt all the European parliament’s proposed measures specifically against Hungary,” FT nevertheless notes the “high-level concerns that Europe’s economic malaise, with unemployment and political extremism rising, could threaten democracy – and that Hungary may be just the first case.”
In the wake of the Tavares Report, EC vice-president Viviane Reding two weeks ago called for democracy-preservation mechanisms, but simultaneously conveyed concern of using the country as such a “first case”: “The debate on how to best preserve and defend the rule of law in the European Union that the Tavares' report touches upon is of high importance to the Commission as underlined by President Barroso,” Reding said before the European Parliament. “This debate is of general interest for the European Union. It relates to the so-called Copenhagen dilemma. It should not be shaped exclusively by our experiences with recent constitutional amendments in Hungary.”
Reding has called for a separate conference to assess the issue of preserving EU rule of law.
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