France, which took over the rotating Presidency of the EU Council on January 1, will hold a hearing in the interdepartmental body in the spring on threats to the rule of law in Hungary as part of the Article 7 proceedings, reports Népszava from high-ranking French government officials.
Separately, the European Commission will also set a date to discuss the country report on Hungary it published last year. The Commission’s country report includes an assessment of the independence of the judiciary, media pluralism, the system of checks and balances, and anti-corruption measures in the Member State.
Every six months, the leaders of the ministries in Brussels review in alphabetical order the performance ratings of five Member States, and Hungary is now up for review as one of these.
A French official stressed that if the College of Commissioners decides to initiate financial sanctions under the current regulation against countries who have violated EU financial interests as a result of breaches in the rule of law, as the current Council President, they would be prepared to present this proposal to the Council of Ministers, which could ultimately decide on whether to withdraw funding.
As previously reported, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Hungarian opposition leaders in December to talk about launching the rule of law mechanism during the French presidency of the EU.