EU can freeze funds to Poland and Hungary, court rules

The two nations have been widely criticised as of late for their anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

An image of a gavel and a judge as the EU court rules against Poland and Hungary.
Image: Pexels

On Wednesday, February 17, the highest court in the EU dismissed a law challenge brought by Poland and Hungary, which leaves the nations vulnerable to funding freezes. The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) is upholding the so-called conditionality mechanism, which makes receiving EU funding dependent on whether or not the recipient is complying with key membership principles.

According to the court, the EU’s existence relies on member states trusting each other to adhere to core values. This includes LGBTQ+ inclusion and rights, an area in which both Poland and Hungary have been widely criticised for as of late.

“Compliance with those values cannot be reduced to an obligation which a candidate state must meet in order to accede to the European Union and which it may disregard after accession,” it ruled.

Warsaw and Hungary challenged the mechanism which was introduced in January 2021, but the ECJ confirmed that it complies with EU law. Since the ruling, Poland has accused the court of “blackmail”, with Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro stating “this was not the end” for Warsaw’s legal battle against the EU.

“This is a historical moment when the EU changes from an area of freedom into an area where illegal violence may be perpetrated in order to strip the member countries of freedom and restrict their sovereignty,” he said.

In contrast, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, welcomed the ruling from the top EU court, stating that her officials will “act with determination” against Poland and Hungary.

“Today’s judgments confirm that we are on the right track,” she said.

Last year, the European Commission took legal action against the two nations for “violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people.” At the time, the EU stated, “Equality and the respect for dignity and human rights are core values of the EU, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. The commission will use all the instruments at its disposal to defend these values.”

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.