In the conflict in the EU over the introduction of a rule of law mechanism, Germany has reached a compromise with Poland and Hungary. According to the agreement, in a special supplement to the description of the mechanism, the principle of respect for the ‘national identity’ of the member states will be highlighted. Viktor Orban is already interpreting what happened as his ‘victory’. Thus, the last obstacles have been removed from the path of adopting the EU budget and the fund for recovering from the consequences of the coronary crisis. Nevertheless, the press is far from thrilled.
What is more dangerous is that they remain!
How can you give in to blackmail like this? — Timothy Garton-Ash, historian and publicist, does not hide his indignation. In his article in La Repubblica, he writes:
“Will the post-Brexit EU face ‘Hungarianism’ or, let’s say, ‘Polaksit’? Don’t even dream. Why would Budapest or Warsaw do something so stupid? No, the immediate threat to the European Union is not that Hungary and Poland would jump out the door after the UK, but that they would remain full members of the club — and continue happily violating its most important rules. It is hard to say which now poses a greater danger to the future of the European Union: a democratic Britain leaving its ranks, or an anti-democratic Hungary staying in the club.”
An imaginary victory for Warsaw and Budapest
As Mérce notes, Orban and Moravecki will soon begin to take credit for forcing the EU to make concessions on a number of issues that, however, have nothing to do with this mechanism:
“The establishment of the rule of law mechanism was originally aimed exclusively at issues such as: ensuring the independence of justice, external control over the spending of EU funds, and the fight against corruption in the echelons of government in Poland and Hungary. … Now, in the planned ‘instruction to apply’ this mechanism will be that the mechanism should not touch such areas as ‘gender theory’, issues of family law or migration policy … All these issues would, in any case, be left out of the equation, but now it is possible to create the impression that the mechanism was originally intended to cover these topics as well. That way Orban and his henchmen can now boast that they have won.
The genie is already out of the bottle
Regardless of how the dispute ends, the political discourse in Poland is beginning to change, Gazeta Wyborcza reports apprehensively:
“Although various voices are coming from the ruling camp, the main impression of these cries is that the EU threatens us politically, culturally, morally and socially, the EU blackmails us, Poland will choke ‘on its way to a European state,’ Poland will turn into a colony, and Poles will become obedient lackeys of more powerful countries. … The tone of articles about the EU is increasingly pejorative, and even if a compromise is reached in Brussels, all that negativity is piling up — and poisoning citizens’ thoughts and attitudes. … A completely meaningless and worthless discussion about Polaksit has already begun, and even if it is just a tactical move, it still unleashes a whole pack of anti-European demons — just as it did with Brexit.