The European Union’s executive body, the EU Commission, has criticized Poland and Hungary for their democratic deficiencies. These have been exacerbated by actions or lack of action by their respective governments. In its annual rule of law report, the EU Commission acknowledged some limited improvements in both countries. But also highlighted numerous remaining shortcomings. Underscoring the ongoing standoff between the EU institutions and Poland and Hungary. This issue poses a fundamental challenge within the 27-member bloc. It has always aimed to uphold Western political liberalism as a guiding principle in the face of increasing power wielded by autocratic regimes worldwide.
The 35-page report specifically focused on Poland, repeatedly addressing legal issues that have yet to be fully resolved despite years of negotiations between Brussels and Warsaw. The EU Commission has taken steps to restrict Poland’s access to certain EU funds in response. The report expressed “serious concerns” about the state institution responsible for safeguarding the independence of courts and judges. Moreover, questioning its impartiality. It also raised doubts about the appointment process for several supreme court judges and criticized ongoing investigations targeting judges based on their judicial decisions.
Looking ahead, the report voiced “serious concerns” about a recent law. Moreover, that could potentially hinder individuals from running for public office. Further raising doubts about the democratic principles at play.
When assessing the recommendations made last year, the report found that in six areas. Including judicial independence, media freedom, and anti-corruption measures, “no progress” had been made.
The EU Commission’s report serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by the EU in upholding democratic values within its member states. The ongoing concerns over the rule of law and democratic backsliding in Poland and Hungary. Highlighting the pressing need for continued dialogue and efforts to address these deficiencies.