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Double standards show Europe has no uniform rule of law definition

(Photo: V4 Agency)

The rule of law concept has no definition in the European Union, which leads to palpable double standards across the continent and puts Central and Eastern European countries at a disadvantage, the vice president of the Polish Ordo Iuris legal institute told V4NA. We interviewed Tymoteusz Zych after a liberal MEP admitted that the rule of law is not a legal norm and has no exact definition, either.

“The use of double standards is obvious, and we strongly reject it,” Tymoteusz Zych told V4NA.

V4NA interviewed the legal expert regarding a leaked video, in which a Hungarian liberal MEP says that the concept of the “rule of law” has no definition in the European Union.

 Anna Donath, member of the Renew Europe group, is heard saying that “as long as the European Union fails to come up, at least in vision, with things about what it [the Union] means by the rule of law and why this is important [to the Union], and why the disbursement of funds is tied to rule of law criteria, the narrative promoted by Fidesz [Hungary’s governing party], the narrative of Judit Varga [Hungarian justice minister] – who formulates her arguments in legal terms – will, unfortunately, remain valid, moreover, they are right after all”.

As the rule of law concept has no definition, it can easily be used as a weapon when someone wants to make allegations against a country, Tymoteusz Zych explained to V4NA, adding that this is the precisely the reason why double standards are applied against certain countries in the European Union.

Think of Spain, where parliament elects judges by a simple majority – so it is essentially the government which decides who the judges should be and it does not even need a consensus. The situation is much more politicised there than in Eastern Europe, but I have not heard Brussels or Western European countries, or the groups protecting the rule of law speak up, and even the great advocates of democracy have remained silent. They even found it controversial that Poland’s judge selection committee must elect the judges by a 3/5 majority. This is evidently a double standard and we strongly reject it, the expert said.

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