E.U. issues its first rule-of-law report, angering leaders of Hungary and Poland
European Union has published today an audit of rule of law issues across its 27 member states, the first of what will be an annual review of Thie State of the blocks Democratic institutions as expected. There is criticism of judicial changes made by nationalist government's in Poland and Hungary in recent years, but concerns We're also raised about corruption in six countries, including Bulgaria. On DH Malta On Tuesday, The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called for the report's author, The You commissioner for values very Jehovah to be sacked All Europe correspondent Kevin Connolly joins us now from Brussels and Kevin just on hungry. How badly does the country come out of this report? There's nothing that will be unfamiliar to the Hungarian government in the charges, but they are not familiar concerns about the limitations of the freedom of the media and determination by the Hungarian government has seen from Brussels. To exercise undue influence of judicial process so that in effect the court system, the legal system in Hungary becomes less free. So it's not the freshness Of the charges, which will annoy Viktor Orban, the Hungarian leader. It is the fact that as you would have expected, they are front and center in the presentation of this case on the really fear in Hungary and in Poland, too. To a slightly lesser extent is the underlying threat, which is still present in this document, which is gaining currency and Brussels as an idea that if you really want to do something about this is the European Union. You have to link the spending of you funds from Brussels with adherence to basic rules about the rule of law, the freedom of the justice system on the freedom of the press. That's what really angers Viktor Orban on DH angers the Polish government, too. That's what they will always come out on the attack. That's why, of course, he's asking for the sacking or via your over the vice president, the European Commission. He certainly won't get that. But he wants to make this for his own domestic political audience about it about Hungary being under attack, rather than hungry, being criticized for falling short of international standards. How likely are other, You country's Tio follow up on on that threat. I think at some point, that idea is gonna have to work its way onto the political agenda. Because at some point I think the European Commission is going to be forced to conclude that persuasion simply doesn't work in these kind of cases. Viktor Orban Thie nationalist government in Poland, They're both going to pursue the same argument. That the European Commission doesn't understand what it's like to emerge from decades of Communist domination that certain measures are necessary that Poland and Hungary are not France and Belgium and the things of different so as long as The countries who are accused pushback in those terms. I think eventually the European Commission will be forced to acknowledge that it's going to have to use any financial levers at its disposal. It won't be quick because nothing involving the European Commission of the European Union is quick. But I think it's some point. It's inevitable on just briefly. The other countries mentioned I included Bulgaria immortal one of the concerns there is that about corruption. It's about both corruption and about shortcomings in the judicial process. In this special mention, I suppose for Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovakia who make both this and here's the takeaway from this. This is a 27 member institution. About a quarter of the member states, mainly former Communist states. About a quarter off them come in for some kind of criticism, so a bracing dose of freshness.