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Brussels must stand up to Poland and Hungary on rule of law, says MEP

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By Euronews
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In this Feb. 1, 2020 file photo, Poland's PM Mateusz Morawiecki, left, and Hungary's PM Victor Orban speak as they line up for a group picture prior to a meeting in Beja
In this Feb. 1, 2020 file photo, Poland's PM Mateusz Morawiecki, left, and Hungary's PM Victor Orban speak as they line up for a group picture prior to a meeting in Beja   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
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Brussels should do more to reign in Hungary and Poland over their alleged divergence from EU values, an MEP has told Euronews.

The European Parliament recently threatened to sue the European Commission accusing it of failing to take Budapest and Warsaw to task over rule of law backsliding, which includes concerns over judicial independence in Poland and media freedom in Hungary.

Now, Sophie in 't Veld -- a liberal MEP from the Netherlands -- is calling on European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to bring Budapest and Warsaw into line.

"If we feel that the [European] Commission does not perform, then there have to be consequences," in 't Veld told Euronews. "Of course, the ultimate consequence is [the] resignation [of the Commission]. I don't think we will get there, but, for example, now the Parliament has to really quickly take the Commission to court, and not take another three or four months, or longer to take their decision."

She accused the European Commission of lacking the courage to stand up to Poland and Hungary, and also that the EU must be radically redesigned, pointing to the fact that rebellious countries have the power to veto any punishments against them.

"They are taking all the decisions that affect citizens, but also they can block all the decisions and that gives the power to the offenders themselves," in 't Veld. "And I think that in a democracy there should always be checks and balances, powers and counter-powers, scrutiny and accountability, and that element is missing."

"The European Council is not accountable to anyone and yet they take all the decisions," she added.

Last week, the Hungarian Justice minister Judit Varga heavily criticised the European Parliament for threatening to sue the European Commission.

According to her, the European Parliament wants to be the judge, jury and executioner on the issue.

Věra Jourová, the European Commissioner in charge of defending EU values, met with Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki this week, amid growing concerns over Warsaw's commitment to the bloc's democratic standards.

Reacting to recent legal battles, which had seen Polish courts question the superiority of EU law over its own, Jourová reminded Poland's government that the rulings of the European Court of Justice "must be respected".