Belgium actively defends the rule of law in the EU

On Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 October, Belgium participated alongside nine other Member States and the European Commission in a hearing at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to support the European Parliament and the Council of the EU in their defense of the rule of law conditionality mechanism. This mechanism is being challenged before the CJEU by Poland and Hungary.

Belgium is strongly attached to the fundamental values of the European Union and considers that respect for the rule of law is an indisputable foundation of the European project. Our country therefore fully supports this new mechanism, which should make it possible to suspend the granting of European funding when violations of the rule of law by a Member State are likely to harm the financial interests of the European Union.

During its intervention, Belgium argued in particular that the conditionality mechanism fully respects the principle of the division of competences between the EU and the Member States as defined in the European treaties and also leaves sufficient space for the expression of the national identities of the Member States.

Belgium is looking forward to the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union and hopes that this mechanism, which officially came into force on 1 January 2021, can quickly be implemented effectively.

In practice, it will be up to the Commission, after having established the clear existence of a violation under this regulation, to trigger the application of the conditionality mechanism against an EU Member State, in order to lead the Council, unless the situation improves satisfactorily, to decide to reduce or suspend payments from the Union budget to this Member State. The Council will then have one month to vote on the proposed measures (or three months in exceptional cases), by qualified majority.