The Commission President was slammed with a six-day ultimatum last week by a group of MEPs urging her to act against Hungary and Poland. The two countries are accused of breaching key aspects of the rule of law and are under investigations for suspected violations of European values under Article 7 of the EU Treaty.
But Ms von der Leyen failed to act by June 1 and the MEPs are now asking Parliament President David Sassoli to trigger Article 265 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
The protocol would see the Commission taken to court for failing to take action against “the growing risk of misusing the Union’s budget as means to deteriorate the Rule of Law in some Member States.”
In a note to President Sassoli, they said they “regret” the Commission not taking action “in the most obvious cases of the breaches of the Rule of Law in the EU”.
They added: “To be prepared, the EP shall in the meantime immediately start the necessary preparations for potential court proceedings under Article 265 of TFEU against the Commission.”
The S&D, Renew, the Greens and the Left support the resolution, leaving the EPP, the Identity and Democracy, and the European Conservatives and Reformists siding with Hungary and Poland so far.
It comes after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Polish leader Mateusz Morawiecki and Lega leader Matteo Salvini, have announced plans to form a new group in the European Parliament.
Mr Salvini declared: “The time has come to bring together the best of these three groups and start playing a decisive role in the EU Parliament.”
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A Law and Justice source said: “The aim of these talks is to bring the presence of a large centre-right force in the European Parliament which will be able to put a dam to this extremely liberal, extremely politicised, full of double standards and violation of treaties, the current direction of EU development.”
Brussels has been locked in an ongoing dispute with Poland and Hungary over controversial legal reforms, which the EU claims endanger judicial independence.
The bloc has consequently launched proceedings in accordance with Article 7 of the EU’s constitution, which could theoretically see both sides lose their European Council voting rights unless they back down.
Both Poland, led by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, of the Law and Justice Party, and Hungary, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, of Fidesz, have long argued Brussels is attempting to punish both nations for having elected right-of-centre governments.
The two countries won separate tax disputes with the European Commission last week after the European Court of Justice ruled in their favour.
The court rejected the commission’s appeal of a lower court ruling upholding Hungary’s 2014 advertising tax.
Judges also concluded Poland’s lower tax rates for smaller retailers should not be regarded as illegal state aid.