Guy Verhofstadt discusses 'weaknesses' within the EU
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The MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister said it was “unnecessary” to wait for a ruling from the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) before implementing EU law. He insisted that waiting for the green light from the bloc’s top court amounts to “wasting valuable time”.
In what has been labelled as a shocking display of hypocrisy, Mr Verhofstadt added that his view is grounded in a respect for “democracy”.
His calls to bypass the ECJ came after an Advocate General (AG) for the court delivered his opinion that the EU can cut funds to member states that it believes does not respect the rule of law.
Hungary and Poland challenged a law that allows Brussels to block funds under these circumstances.
But AG Campos Sánchez-Bordona said on Thursday the challenge “should be dismissed”.
Mr Verhofstadt may have agreed with the ruling, but he held that its issuing was not necessary in the first place.
In a post on Twitter, he wrote: “Waiting for the outcome of this Court case was unnecessary and wasted valuable time in implementing the EU law and the rule of law mechanism.
“The Commission has to stop Hungary and Poland’s onslaught on democracy!”
Other Twitter users were quick to highlight the irony of Mr Verhofstadt’s comment.
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Adam Friend wrote: “Only Guy could write such an oxymoronic statement, and believe it to be true.
“If you believe in the ‘rule of law’ then you always wait for the outcome of a court case.”
Manuella Machado added: “To think your Bloc (EU) started out as a ‘platform’ to help free trade between countries, hey?
“All of a sudden, it is now a Dictatorial Bloc that wants to FORCE their rule of law onto every European country.
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“What Democracy are your talking about, exactly?!”
Unfortunately for Mr Verhofstadt, the saga does not end there.
The Advocate General’s word is not final, and while the ECJ usually follows such advice, a proper verdict will not be issued until early next year.
Responding to the AG’s advice, Polish Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta, quoted in the Guardian, said: “This is robbery against the rule of law that they want to defend.
“The opinion of the Advocate General of the CJEU [court of justice] clearly aims to sanction an extra-treaty conditionality mechanism. It was naive to trust EU institutions that they would be capable of self-limiting.”
Zoltán Kovács, the chief spokesperson for the Hungarian Government, added: “This is not a verdict, just an opinion. We hope that ECJ will base its judgement solely on legal arguments, it won’t follow the AG’s erroneous arguments.”
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