Reporter Tim Sebastien slammed the European Union for failing to protect “fundamental rights” across the bloc, quoting from a human rights report warning there are almost ten million Europeans currently living under “authoritarian rule” across the union. The DW host grilled the Chair of the German EU affairs committee Gunther Krichbaum on Germany’s failure to defend its values against the rise of undemocratic governments, asking the German MP are “you not ashamed?”
Addressing the recent EU decision to tie budget payments to the rule of law, Mr Krichbaum replied: “I am not totally satisfied with the results, to be honest
“But anyway we can, we are able to connect financial aid from the budget of the European Union to the respect of rule of law.”
“That was not my quite question though!” interrupted Mr Sebastien.
“You have almost ten million citizens living under authoritarian rule and you have the EU Commission’s Vice President Věra Jourová who went as far as to call Hungary a sick democracy.
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“How many sick democracies can you tolerate in Europe these days?” he asked.
Mr Krichbaum said: “We can never tolerate sick democracies in the European Union.”
“But you do! you do!” replied the host, Mr Sebastien.
It comes as the battle over rule of law within the bloc was described as a “long-term challenge” by Marek Tatala, Vice-President of the Civil Development Forum.
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A fresh row between Brussels and Warsaw erupted during recent talks over the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund,
Poland and Hungary vetoed the support package after member states agreed that funding would not be handed out to countries who do not respect the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression.
After days of intense negotiations, a compromise was eventually reached, meaning the £1.6trillion of stimulus funding can now be distributed to the EU27.
But the row highlights the division that still exists between Poland, Hungary and the rest of the bloc.