The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will issue a ruling on the lawsuit over the EU’s rule of law regulation on February 16, the court announced on Twitter. Hungary and Poland are plaintiffs in the case: the two countries filed a lawsuit last March to attempt to annul the regulation and its sanctioning mechanism.
In essence, if a Member State is found to have jeopardized the EU’s financial interests through violating norms related to the rule of law, any EU funds due to that Member State can be reduced, withdrawn, or suspended.
The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice published an opinion in December last year which proposed that the Luxembourg-based body dismiss the legal case brought by the Hungarian and Polish governments. According to the Advocate General, the rule of law regulation is in accordance with EU law.
The European Court of Justice is not obliged to agree with the Advocate General’s proposal, but it does most of the time.
Experts point out that in making its judgment, the ECJ may even impose conditions regarding how the rule of law mechanism can be applied.
The outcome of the lawsuit will also determine when and within what framework the European Commission can launch the rule of law mechanism against Hungary and Poland, which is expected to be a months-long process. The Brussels body may end up imposing sanctions on EU funds due to Hungary and Poland as a result of the proceedings. [Index]